Town of Vail planning manager sentenced for third DUI
EAGLE — The town of Vail’s planning manager was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and 60 days jail Tuesday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence — his third DUI conviction.
While driving south on state Highway 131 on July 4 of last year, Jonathan C. Spence, 50, reportedly veered into a northbound lane and sideswiped another car, pushing it into a guardrail, and then continued driving off. The other car braked and left 34 feet of skid marks on the road, according to police reports.
Colorado State Patrol responded to a report of the hit-and-run crash and about 15 minutes later, at approximately 2:29 p.m., found Spence asleep in his damaged car, which was parked but left running in a dirt parking lot on the east side of the highway.
When a trooper approached Spence’s parked car, he noticed several open beer bottles in the vehicle and a strong odor of alcohol coming from the open windows. According to the incident report, Spence did not remember the crash, was initially unable to exit his car because of damage to the driver’s door, and failed roadside sobriety tests, almost falling over several times.
Spence’s BAC was .309 and he has two prior DUI convictions in 2003 and 2011, prosecutors told the court Tuesday.
Spence’s attorney, Terry O’Connor, told the court that the town is “aware of this situation and fully supporting” Spence, who has already done “a tremendous amount of work” and been “extremely proactive” to address his alcohol issues. “He knows this could have been tragic, how it ended,“ O’Connor told the court. ”He is doing everything possible to correct what was going on in his life.“
Spence told the court he is deeply remorseful and ashamed of his actions, and is using this incident as “a stepping stone to ensure this never happens again” and to recommit himself to his community.
Eagle County Court Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez sentenced Spence to two years of supervised probation and four years of monitoring to make sure he is not consuming alcohol. She also sentenced Spence to the mandatory minimum 60 days in jail, but offered him the ability to do 120 days of electronic home monitoring instead. Another 365 days in jail was suspended, pending Spence’s successful completion of probation, and restitution was left open for 60 days.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.