County man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide
A 20-year-old Eagle County man pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular homicide and driving while ability impaired for a June 29 accident that killed a 24-year-old Gypsum man.
In District Court, Luke Ross Gray pleaded guilty to the homicide charge as part of a deferred judgment in which he will serve 90 days in jail and complete 200 hours of public service.
Under the deferred judgment, Gray also agreed to pay $7,000 in restitution to the victim’s family, be on supervised probation for four years, undergo an alcohol evaluation and refrain from using alcohol.
If Gray follows the agreement, the charge of vehicular homicide, a Class 3 felony, will be dropped from his record in four years. If he violates the conditions, he could face between four to 12 years in prison.
Prior to the June 29 accident, Gray had no criminal or traffic record.
In the crash accident, Gray drove a 1993 Dodge pick-up truck off the road eight miles northwest of Toponas. Gypsum resident Andres Hernandez died after being ejected from the truck. Gray and fellow passenger, 23-year-old Lucas Kelley, were not injured.
Gray also pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired and improper mountain driving – reduced from the original charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and careless driving. He will be sentenced for those charges June 25.
Gray was taken to the Routt County Jail to begin serving his 90 days after Monday’s court appearance.
In January, Gray had pleaded not guilty to the vehicular homicide charge and District Court Judge Michael O’Hara set a trial date for June 21. At that time, Gray’s attorney Charles Feldmann said they had exhausted the plea negotiations and were taking the case to trial.
Gray, a fifth-generation Coloradan, is from Eagle County and attends college in Texas. Gray is a six-time Colorado State High School Rodeo Champion and a member of the Professional Cowboy Rodeo Association.
The accident occurred when Gray was driving northbound along a private dirt road on the Bardin Ranch north of Routt County Road 6. Gray drove the truck off the right side of the road. The truck rolled over two times down a steep embankment and came to rest on its wheels. No one was wearing seat belts.
Hernandez, who was sitting in the center of the truck, was ejected and landed 10 feet east of the vehicle. He was pronounced dead on the scene.