Vail Valley DUI case causes near-fatal car crashes
Kansas man pleads guilty to fourth DUI, faces 18 years in prison
EAGLE — A Kansas man who led authorities on a chase at speeds fast as 100 mph pleaded guilty to four felonies, topped by charges of driving under the influence and vehicular assault.
Casey Edward Lonesk, 42, Roeland Park, Kansas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to four felonies: two counts of vehicular assault/DUI, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident.
What police say happened
According to court documents, Lonesk was driving as fast as 100 mph on westbound Interstate 70 on July 20, 2019, when he caused multiple accidents.
“Reckless endangerment of ordinary folks just trying to make their way home is inexcusable, and my hope is he is taken off the road and put in a place where he can get help before he kills somebody,” District Attorney Bruce Brown said.
Law enforcement and witness reports say Lonesk clipped one vehicle from behind and caused another to roll over the embankment from I-70 onto Highway 6, turning over several times and finally coming to rest in an irrigation ditch near the Eagle River near Wolcott.
The crashed car caught fire, and first responders had to pull the victims to safety. They were treated at Vail Health Hospital.
Lonesk drove away from the scene of the accident in his damaged truck. Colorado State Patrol troopers caught him when his truck stalled.
Lonesk was arrested but refused to perform roadside maneuvers for suspected intoxication. He was taken to Vail Health Hospital where blood tests found his blood alcohol content was .237, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.
The two victims both suffered multiple injuries: rib fractures, lacerations, contusions and abrasions. Although both were released from the hospital after a few days, their healing continues months after the accident, Brown said.
“Although these two victims are alive today, the repeated actions of this dangerous man caused considerable damage and put many peoples’ lives at risk,” Brown said.
Lonesk faces probation at the least, and 18 years in prison at the most.
Lonesk’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2020. He has three previous DUIs from Kansas dating back to 2008.
Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.