A district judge in Jefferson County sentenced Daniel Short on Monday to five years in prison for vehicular homicide after having caused the death of 59-year-old Julia Pacheco in a drunken-driving crash in Lakewood last October.
Short, 65, who already had been convicted of DUI three times since 1977, pleaded guilty on April 18 to charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence – third or subsequent alcohol-related offense.
According to a news release from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Pacheco’s family spoke of her to the court, saying, “Julie would have been the person that would have offered to give the defendant a ride home had he only had the decency to ask for a ride instead of driving under the influence.”
Pacheco, who was riding a motorcycle, was struck from behind by Short, who was driving a gold Lexus sedan, just after 9 p.m. Oct. 4 near the intersection of South Sheridan Boulevard and West Yale Avenue. Pacheco, 59, was pronounced dead by the time she arrived at the hospital.
Multiple witnesses claimed to have seen Short speeding and driving recklessly prior to the crash, according to the DA’s office. Short remained on the scene following the collision, officials said, telling police he had been at a golf tournament earlier in the day where he had been drinking beers and smoking marijuana.
Police said they also found that Short was in possession of cocaine that day.
“While Mr. Short didn’t set out to hurt anyone on Oct. 4, 2021, he made choices that caused the irrevocable tragedy before the Court,” Deputy District Attorney Riley Gonya told the court, according to the news release. “He drank and drove for the fourth time, he drove recklessly and he crashed into Julie Pacheco, ending her life. Our hearts are with Ms. Pacheco’s friends and family as they continue to grieve her loss. We know that nothing can return what they have lost, but we are honored to give Julie a voice.”
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