Man sentenced for vehicular homicide in Ray Combest case |

Man sentenced for vehicular homicide in Ray Combest case

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Wednesday’s sentencing of Tri Nguyen brought the tragic death of former chief probation officer Ray Combest to a legal closure, while his family and people who knew him hope to find their own sense of closure.”It was an extremely emotional sentencing,” 18th Judicial District Attorney Colin McCallin said. Combest’s wife, Charla, addressed the court and spoke about the loss of her husband and how hard it is to move on. She asked for a prison sentence of unspecified length. One of Combest’s friends also added his thoughts and recommended prison time. Nguyen, who was 23 at the time of the incident, apologized to everyone and directly spoke to Charla.Nguyen was sentenced to four years in prison for vehicular homicide. A two-year sentence for vehicular assault will run concurrently. The charges originated from a road rage incident south of Denver on Feb. 24, 2005, on C-470, resulting in a head-on crash that caused Combest’s death. He was 54. Nguyen had also been convicted at trial of manslaughter, reckless driving and reckless endangerment, but those charges “merged” with the two he was sentenced on, McCallin said.”It’s all a concurrent sentence resulting in a four-year department of corrections sentence,” he said.Remembering Combest, Probation Supervisor David Snearly went outside to sit on the memorial bench outside the courthouse to get 20 minutes of sunshine. Combest, remembered as an eternal optimist, always recommended taking the time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Along with the name Ray “Spunky” Combest, the plaque on the memorial bench has the words “20 minutes of sunshine.””This morning I was reminded that I lost a good friend and great boss,” Snearly said.Combest was with the probation department in Glenwood Springs for about four years. He was a respected member of the community, worked to found the drug court with Judge T. Peter Craven and provided leadership to help bring the probation department into the twenty-first century.”I hope the sentencing helps bring some closure for Charla and continues her healing,” Snearly said.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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