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Judge hands down maximum sentence for reckless driver who crashed in Douglas County, killing passenger

Colorado State Patrol
Posted at 3:31 PM, Dec 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-07 17:31:32-05

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A 33-year-old was sentenced to a dozen years in prison for a deadly crash on Interstate 25 in November 2022.

James McDonald received the maximum prison sentence allowed under Colorado law after a jury found him guilty of vehicular homicide and speeding.

The charges stemmed from Nov. 18, 2022. That afternoon, troopers with Colorado State Patrol responded to a single-car rollover crash on northbound I-25 near exit 184, close to the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock.

When they arrived, they found a 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer on its side in a ditch.

Based on the subsequent investigation, police identified the driver as McDonald, and said he had been speeding more than 100 mph in a 65 mph zone, and weaving in and out of traffic before he lost control of the car.

He crashed into the guardrail and the car went airborne and rolled before landing in the ditch. Police said he had a passenger in the front seat and backseat, and the person in the back was thrown from the vehicle.

All three people were transported to a hospital. Several hours later, the person who was in the backseat died of her injuries.

Police learned McDonald and the front seat passenger were wearing their seatbelts, while the person in the back was not.

McDonald was charged with vehicular homicide, a Class 4 felony, and speeding, a Class 2 traffic offense.

After a three-day jury trial, McDonald was found guilty of both charges. He was sentenced to 12 years, the maximum sentence allowed.

Deputy District Attorney Keegan Doheney said this crash and the person's death were 100% preventable.

“This defendant’s selfish actions put the lives of everyone in that car in danger. It’s a miracle no one else was killed," he said.

To report a dangerous or aggressive driver to Colorado State Patrol, dial *277.

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