Western Slope teen driver pleads guilty to vehicular homicide in fatal crash
GARFIELD COUNTY — Jesse Lloyd, the driver in a fatal May rollover crash in Carbondale, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide Thursday and faces up to 7 years in prison.
Lloyd, 18, was accused of driving drunk and causing a fatal rollover crash in Missouri Heights on May 3 that claimed the life of a Basalt High School student and seriously injured two others.
Lloyd told a Colorado State Patrol trooper at the scene that he had taken five or six shots of vodka before getting in the car with his friends, and had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 after the crash, according to arrest documents.
The plea agreement stipulates that Lloyd should be sentenced to no more than 7 years in prison.
“Do you understand that I am not bound by that stipulation?” Ninth District Judge John Neiley asked Lloyd.
Neiley noted that if Lloyd received a longer sentence, he could withdraw his guilty plea.
Conviction of vehicular homicide under the influence typically carries a sentence of 4-12 years sentence, Neiley said, and could be as little as two years with mitigating circumstances, according to Colorado sentencing guidelines.
Lloyd also pleaded guilty to two counts of careless driving causing injury, which carry a maximum 24-month county jail sentence.
The charges of felony vehicular assault, driving under the influence, and possessing alcohol as a minor were dropped in the plea agreement.
The crash was first reported May 5 around 11:38 p.m. on Colorado Road 102, also known as Fender Lane. Two of the five people in the car were ejected from the vehicle Lloyd was allegedly driving.
Tyler Ribich, 16, a Basalt High School junior, was one of those ejected. He died at the scene, according to Garfield County Coroner Rob Glassmire. The other person ejected was seriously injured and taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, according to Colorado State Patrol reports.
As part of the plea agreement, Lloyd also admitted to a violation of juvenile probation, which will be resolved in an October hearing well before Lloyd’s sentencing hearing scheduled for 2020.
Prosecutor Denton Walker wanted a sentencing date in November or December, but Neiley said his schedule was full.
Defense attorney Lawson Wills said he preferred a January sentencing date, and Neiley scheduled the hearing for Jan. 3.
“I’m not worried that he’s going to abscond or anything like that,” Neiley said.