ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — An Aurora man was convicted Thursday of killing a mother and her 6-year-old daughter in a DUI-related crash in April 2022.
A jury found Juan Pablo Pascual-Licea, 32, guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide - DUI, two counts of vehicular assault - DUI, child abuse - knowingly/ recklessly causing serious bodily injury and child abuse - knowingly/ recklessly causing death.
On April 8, 2022, a mother, father and their two children — a 10-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl — were driving home after celebrating the girl's birthday when a truck that was traveling in the wrong direction on South Chambers crashed into the family's SUV near East 6th Ave., according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
The mother and daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. The father and son were seriously injured but ultimately survived.
The district attorney's office said Pascual-Licea was driving more than 80 mph when he crashed. He also had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .181 — more than twice the legal limit — nearly an hour after the crash.
“There is no excuse or justification for the defendant’s egregious actions that night,” Senior Deputy DA Doug Bechtel said in a statement. “A father woke up several days later in a hospital bed, only to learn his wife and daughter were dead, and his son would have to learn how to walk again. Their lives are forever changed based on the defendant’s inexcusable behavior to drive drunk.”
Pascual-Licea struck a bicyclist and nearly hit a group of teenagers who were in a crosswalk just before the crash, according to the district attorney's office.
Following a 3-day trial, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching its conclusion.
“In the blink of an eye, a family is torn apart by the selfish actions of someone who chose to drive drunk and endanger multiple lives,” Senior Deputy DA Meghan Gallo said in a statement. “As a mother, I cannot imagine the heartbreak, grief, and devastation this family has suffered. It was a privilege to prosecute this case and bring justice to this family.”
Pascual-Licea's sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on February 15, 2024.
“This was a heart-wrenching case and I’m proud of my team’s hard work to find justice for this family,” District Attorney John Kellner said in a statement. “This defendant senselessly killed a sweet little girl coming home from her birthday party and her mother. A long prison sentence is warranted to send a message that we won’t tolerate impaired drivers on our roads.”