Burch pleads guilty to three counts involving vehicular death of 15-year-old, but may not see jail time
Dillon Burch, a Craig man who was charged in the death of a 15-year-old girl when the car he was driving with her and two others in it rolled on a county road, pleaded guilty to three charges, including the felony vehicular homicide – reckless driving, but it is up to the court whether he spends time in prison or jail.
Burch pled guilty Thursday morning in district court to driving while under the influence, to vehicular homicide – reckless driving, which is a Class IV felony, and to an amended count of assault in the third degree.
The incident occurred Dec. 13 around 2 a.m. when the vehicle Burch, then 20 years old, was driving on Moffat County Road 31 rolled with Burch and three passengers inside. The other two, a 16-year-old and 20-year-old, testified previously that Burch swerved to avoid something on the road, and in so doing rolled the car, killing the 15-year-old in the crash.
Burch’s sentence for the vehicular homicide charge could include up to six years in prison should probation not be granted, but the prosecution’s plea agreement instead requested just five years of mandatory supervised probation.
The ultimate sentence is up to the judge. District judge Sandra Gardner ordered a pre-sentence investigation Thursday and set a sentencing hearing for 11 a.m. Nov. 4. This investigation will examine Burch’s background and history to better inform the court of the appropriate action. Fines of up to $500,000 are also possible, at the court’s discretion.
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The plea agreement also included alcohol evaluation and treatment, as well as participation in a M.A.D.D. panel once a year for five years.
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. to include a response from the Bureau of Land Management’s national office.