Jefferson County District Court No. 11CR2303. Honorable Philip J. McNulty, Judge.
John W. Suthers, Attorney General, John T. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Andrea R. Gammell, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant.
Opinion by JUDGE VOGT[*]. Loeb, C.J., and Nieto, J., concur.
Defendant, Hank Taylor Sieck, appeals the order of restitution entered following his conviction for vehicular assault. We affirm.
[¶1] Defendant was driving a car in excess of 110 miles per hour after consuming alcohol and drugs. He lost control of the car. One of the two passengers (J.P.) was ejected from the car as it rolled over. He sustained a permanent debilitating brain injury.
[¶2] Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular assault -- driving under the influence, a class four felony, and the district court sentenced him to four years in the Department of Corrections. The prosecution requested $833,194.10 in restitution for medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and lost wages related to J.P.'s injuries. Defendant objected and requested a hearing.
[¶3] At the restitution hearing, defendant did not contest the amount of the damages, but he asserted that J.P.'s failure to fasten his seatbelt constituted gross negligence and, as such, was an independent intervening cause relieving him of responsibility for restitution related to J.P.'s injuries. The court disagreed. It concluded that failure to wear a seatbelt was simple negligence, not an independent intervening cause, and it therefore granted the prosecution's motion for restitution.