Family seeks governor's help

District attorney's decision unjust, Craig family contends

It didn't take long for the family of a late Craig man to react to what it believes is injustice on the part of Bonnie Roesink, the 14th Judicial District Attorney.

On Monday afternoon, Roesink met with Craig residents Jordan Bailey and Kathy Oberwitte, son and sister, respectively, to the late Michael Bailey, who died in February from injuries suffered in a fatal crash.

The district attorney said she could not file vehicular homicide charges against Morrison resident Dustin Lund, whose vehicle collided with Bailey's on U.S. Highway 40, about a mile east of Hayden.

Lund was reportedly under the influence of methamphetamine during the crash. The district attorney's office will pursue the original charge against Lund -- careless driving involving death, a misdemeanor.

On Tuesday, Oberwitte sent a letter to Gov. Bill Ritter, asking that he intervene in the district attorney's decision. She said she's also considering a recall petition against Roesink.

"It's something I have to consider," Oberwitte said.

Her letter requests a conversation with the governor to discuss the case.

"Please know that I would not bring this concern to you if I did not feel that we have validity in our fight for justice," Oberwitte wrote.

She added, "I am not willing to let Bonnie or her staff continue to disregard my 18-year-old nephew, who lost his father, our community, nor should they continue to violate our rights as victims."

Prosecutors originally cha-

rged Lund in Routt County with careless driving involving death. The charge was vacated so the case could be re-evaluated.

Roesink said Monday that a review of the Bailey case led prosecutors to the "conclusion that the original decision to pursue a charge of careless driving involving death was the correct judgment."

Part of the district attorney's decision was based off what evidence she believed could be admitted into court.

Lund was driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the crash.

Capt. Brett Williams of the Colorado State Patrol said the district attorney's office contends that evidence obtained by troopers in accidents that commercial vehicles are involved is not admissible in court.

Williams said he disagrees with the finding and is attempting to clear up the matter with the state attorney general's office and the motor carrier enforcement division of the state patrol.

"I would say we're not in agreement," Williams said.

However, he said the CSP has little say in the matter.

"We could put together a case, but the final call, as far as charges go, is the district attorney's," Williams said. "It's really out of our hands."

Lund was given a blood test shortly after the accident at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs. Because the case is ongoing, Williams said he could not comment whether the driver tested positive for drugs or alcohol.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said the governor would review Oberwitte's letter. He could not comment Tuesday on what steps the governor would take after reviewing the information.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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