Man with multiple drunk driving convictions sentenced after fatal 2022 crash in Weld County

Posted at 1:32 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 07:32:28-04

GREELEY, Colo. — A man from Fort Lupton was sentenced to 45 years in prison after he drunkenly crashed into another driver in 2022, killing a father.

Anthony Eagle, 48, was sentenced in Weld County District Court on Friday. Forty-five years was the maximum sentence allowed for the charges against him, according to the 19th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

The crash happened on Nov. 2, 2022 on Weld County Road 16 and Weld County Road 19. Investigators at the scene determined that Anthony Eagle had crashed into another vehicle and killed 38-year-old Jesus Rios of Lafayette, the district attorney's office said.

The investigators found that a good Samaritan pulled over to help just after the crash. That man got out of his car, where his 15-year-old daughter was the passenger. Eagle then got into the witness's driver's seat and fled the scene, with the teen girl still inside, the district attorney's office said.

The girl was able to jump out of the moving truck before Eagle crashed again.

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At the time of these crashes, Eagle was on probation for a previous drunk driving incident in Adams County in May 2022. In total, he had six alcohol-related driving offenses across multiple Colorado jurisdictions dating back to 1994.

Eagle pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence (fourth or subsequent offense), second-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping in February 2024. As part of the plea agreement, both the defense and prosecution stipulated to a sentencing range of 35 to 45 years in prison, the district attorney's office said.

The family of Rios, as well as the good Samaritan who stopped at the crash site, attended the sentencing hearing for Eagle last week.

A sister of Rios said her family has lived a nightmare since that night.

“Our lives have been completely shattered," she said. "My heart is so broken. I miss my brother so much it hurts.”

The man's two teenage daughters also made statements in the courtroom about how their lives were turned upside down, the district attorney's office said.

"He was the light in my world," one of the teenagers said. "For my high school graduation, a picture was all I was able to have. Never in a million years did I think I would have to close a casket on my dad.”

The good Samaritan told the courtroom that he drives past a cross every day — sometimes twice a day.

"Every time I drive by it, my heart sinks," he said. "Maybe keep harmful people locked up instead of a slap on the wrist. There’s no reason why this man should have been out on bond."

Deputy District Attorney Katherine Fitzgerald said the facts of the case are aggravating, but Eagle's criminal history is "extremely aggravating."

"This man should have never been given this many chances to get behind the wheel," Fitzgerald said. "It’s an understatement when I say his actions were selfish and that the results were horrific and heartbreaking. I want our Weld County community to know that this type of behavior is not, and will not, be tolerated."

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