Vail man faces trial in vehicular homicide case
May 3, 2011
EAGLE, Colorado – A Vail man will stand trial for allegedly hitting and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk.
David Matthew Perzanowski, 29, of Vail, is charged with vehicular homicide and DUI for allegedly hitting and killing Lewis Cook III, 32, of Glen Ellen, Calif., March 6. Perzanowski was driving his 2007 Jeep Cherokee along South Frontage Road in East Vail. The incident occurred at 1:50 a.m. Sunday, March 6.
Perzanowski was arrested at the scene and charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.
Perzanowski and his attorney, Terry O’Connor, declined their right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday, opting instead to send the case to District Court, where Perzanowski will stand trial on felony charges.
If he’s convicted, he faces up 16 years in prison.
He makes his first appearance in District Judge Tom Moorhead’s courtroom at 9 a.m. June 8.
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Perzanowski is free after his family posted his $15,000 bond March 7, the day after the incident. Perzanowski will continue to be tested for drug and alcohol use, said Eagle County Court Judge Katharine Sullivan.
“We want you to stay sober,” Sullivan told Perzanowski as she was sending the case to District Court.
“I want to stay sober,” he replied
Perzanowski was charged with vehicular homicide a Class III felony, which means he was driving drunk when he allegedly hit Cook, said District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
If he had not been driving while intoxicated, he would have been charged with a Class IV felony, which carries a shorter prison term, Hurlbert said.
Perzanowski has a prior alcohol incident from 2006, according to court records.
When Vail officers arrived at the scene, they found Cook unconscious and unresponsive by the side of the road where he had been walking before Perzanowski allegedly struck him. They performed CPR, but Cook did not respond.
About the victim
Cook was born Jan. 4, 1979, in San Francisco, California, where he attended University High School, according to an obituary. He was a four-time All-American swimmer in high school and played water polo at Princeton, where he graduated with honors in 2001 with a degree in economics.
He worked for a few years in real estate in Austin, Texas, before earning his MBA from Duke University. He was recognized as a Duke Scholar in 2007.
He returned to Austin to work for Simmons Vedder in acquisitions before starting his own real estate investment company last year. He was directing a project for his family’s oil and gas interests at the time of his death.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.