Man to serve year in jail for accident that killed girl
A Pagosa Springs man will spend a year in jail, half the maximum possible penalty, for his actions in an August accident that killed a Glenwood Springs girl and seriously injured her mother.Delta County Judge Sandra Miller has sentenced Richard Hilton, 48, to a year in jail with work release privileges and a second year on probation in connection with the Aug. 14 accident. Samantha Carlson, 10, a fourth-grader at Sopris Elementary School, died when a car driven by Hilton swerved off a road and onto the shoulder, where she was biking with her mom, Lorry.The Carlsons were on Highway 50 within Delta city limits. Hilton said he fell asleep at the wheel.Hilton later pleaded guilty as charged, to two misdemeanor charges of careless driving causing injury or death. His attorney, Edward Nugent, of Grand Junction, has said the pleas reflected Hilton’s acceptance of responsibility for his actions.Nugent also had asked that Hilton be put on probation rather than being sent to jail. Careless driving resulting in injury or death carries a presumptive sentencing range of 10 days to a year in jail, and a potential fine of $100 to $1,000. Miller had the option of sentencing Hilton to consecutive sentences for the two counts against him.Hilton also was fined $357 and ordered to perform 365 hours of community service. In addition, he will be prohibited from driving while on probation.He is scheduled to begin serving his jail sentence Feb. 1, said Andy Wright, a judicial assistant for Delta Combined Courts. Hilton reportedly had requested travel privileges over the holidays. Wright said he has been given permission to travel out of state.Wright said the Carlson family spoke during the sentencing hearing. Deputy DA Myrl Serra had said prior to sentencing that he would be consulting with the family before deciding what sentence he would seek. Serra has been unavailable for comment this week.Investigators found no evidence of drug or alcohol use by Hilton at the time of the accident, and there was no indication that he was speeding.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Interstate 70 through the Glenwood Canyon reopened around 6:15 p.m. Thursday after a flash flood warning expired.