Vail man gets four years for vehicular homicide |

Vail man gets four years for vehicular homicide

David Perzanowski

EAGLE, Colorado – A Vail man will spend up to four years in state prison for striking and killing a pedestrian with his SUV in March.

David Perzanowski, 29, was sentenced by District Court Judge Thomas Moorhead on Wednesday.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert’s office had asked for a 10-year sentence. The felony carried a maximum sentence of 16 years.

Perzanowski pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and DUI. His defense attorney, Terry O’Connor, asked for probation.

Perzanowski had been working at the Snow Ball in Avon and drinking in bars in Vail, Hurlbert said.

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The incident occurred at 1:50 a.m. March 6 as Lewis Cook III, of Austin, Texas, was walking on the frontage road.

During his sentencing hearing, Perzanowski said he had intended to take the bus back from Vail Village. He said he became tired and didn’t want to wait for the next bus, so he climbed behind the wheel of his 2007 Jeep Cherokee.

His blood alcohol level was .189, more than twice the legal limit, when he struck Cook.

“The exact place of the accident was difficult to pinpoint since Mr. Perzanowski failed to hit the brakes,” Hurlbert said in a written statement.

When Vail police officers arrived at the scene, they found Cook unconscious and unresponsive by the side of the road where he had been walking before Perzanowski struck him. They performed CPR, but Cook did not respond. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Perzanowski has a prior alcohol conviction from 2006, according to court records.

When Moorhead asked him about the “Vail lifestyle,” he described it as “ski hard, party harder,” and said he regrets not finding the Alcoholics Anonymous community after his first conviction.

When he appeared earlier this year in Judge Katharine Sullivan’s court, Perzanowski told Sullivan he wanted to stay sober.

“We want you to stay sober,” Sullivan told Perzanowski as she was sending the case to District Court and Judge Moorhead.

Lewis Cook III was an All-American swimmer, college water polo player and an honors graduate from an Ivy League college. A native of San Francisco, he was living in Austin, Texas, and 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

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