A judge has sentenced a Colorado woman to more than three years in prison for a conviction of criminal negligence for her role in her husband’s fatal car crash, a move that may help keep her from going to jail in the future.
In a separate case, a Denver judge sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for another car crash that he didn’t cause.
The sentences come as Colorado courts grapple with the impact of the recent spike in traffic fatalities.
In the past month, at least two people have been killed in Colorado.
At least nine people have died in traffic accidents since November.
Prosecutors in Colorado, which has the nation’s sixth-highest death toll, are seeking sentences ranging from three to 10½ years for the woman, 23-year-old Julie Ann Roper, and the man, 22-year.
The charges relate to the October 2014 crash that left John D. Cooper dead and his wife, Annalise, critically injured.
Authorities say Roper was driving erratically and failed to stop at a red light in Colorado Springs.
Prosecutors say she failed to signal to a police officer at the intersection of University Boulevard and Main Street that her car was in an accident and that she drove into the center of the intersection.
The officers saw the car in the intersection and tried to stop it, but it didn’t stop.
The car, Roper told police, swerved left into the right lane and crashed into a tree.
Authorities have said Roper didn’t have a cell phone and didn’t know she was driving, but they didn’t say what prompted the crash.
Roper also failed to use a turn signal when she lost control of her car, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Prosecutors have said she didn’t recognize the intersection when she turned left and that her driving was erratic and reckless.
Ropers attorney said the charges will hurt her, but she says she didn, too.
“The whole situation has been horrible,” said Ritter, who is originally from New York.
“I just want to be heard and not just be treated like an animal.
This is a horrible situation.
I don’t want this to end.”
Roper has appealed the sentences, saying that she was trying to save her life and that the charges are an unfair burden on her family.
She’s also argued that she’s being discriminated against because she’s black and has been discriminated against for years by Colorado police.
The appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments on Friday.
Ritter is charged with negligent homicide, felony reckless driving, failing to stop and yield, reckless driving causing death, and felony vehicular manslaughter.
A judge ordered her to stay in jail until she’s convicted.