Driver found guilty of vehicular homicide

Drunken motorist hit victim along highway

Staff report
Posted
Swecker

A Douglas County jury has found a 43-year-old Monument man guilty of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

Daniel Barrett Swecker was convicted May 27 and will be sentenced on July 11 in Castle Rock. He faces between four and 12 years behind bars on each of the three felony charges, but could potentially just receive probation.

Swecker was driving a gold-colored Ford Excursion about 2 a.m. on Feb. 25, 2012, when he slammed into a dark-colored Ford Expedition and ran into Nelson Canada, 24, while doing 80 mph.

At the time of impact, Canada was outside the Expedition near mile marker 183 on southbound Interstate 25, standing on the far right side of the highway, where he was preparing to take over driving duties for the other person in the vehicle, who apparently was too intoxicated to drive.

When Swecker's vehicle struck Canada, the victim was thrown 124 feet through the air, landing in the fast lane of the four-lane stretch of highway.

A witness called 911 and both the Castle Rock Police Department and Colorado State Patrol arrived at the scene, which had been vacated by Swecker.

Swecker, who did not call for help or attempt to administer aid, walked more than a mile to a gas station, using his cell phone to call his wife, who he met at the station. She drove him back to the scene of the crash 40 minutes later, where he registered a blood alcohol level of 0.118 percent after taking a breathalyzer test at 3:43 a.m., which means he was still .038 over the legal limit almost two hours after the accident.

“The defendant in this case was so intoxicated that he never saw the vehicle or Mr. Canada,” Deputy District Attorney Kelly LaFave said in a statement. “He made no effort to stop; instead he slammed into the rear of the Expedition, running over Nelson Canada in the process. 

“He then exited his vehicle, walking past Nelson's body, in order to flee the scene.  … For those who refuse to take responsibility at the scene of a deadly accident, know that the justice system will pursue you to the full extent of the law.”