Drunk Driver Sentenced For Killing Englewood Police Officer
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– The man who struck and killed a police officer over the Memorial Day weekend in 2012 has been sentenced to a total of 10 years behind bars.
Conner Donahue was sentenced to eight years in prison for vehicular homicide, two years for vehicular assault which will be served concurrently with eight years for leaving the scene involving death, two years for leaving the scene involving bodily injury and one year for driving under the influence.
He was taken away in handcuffs to begin serving his sentence after he apologized to everyone involved.
It was an emotional day in court.
Donahue, 21, had pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury and DUI in February.
Investigators said Donohue had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit at the time of the crash. Investigators also said that Donohue told them he had consumed two beers, three shots and a large rum and Coke.
Donohue told police he thought he only nicked another car and when he was told that he struck a police officer, he began shaking and put his head into his hands.
Jeremy Bitner, 39, was an eight year veteran of the Englewood Police Department. He left behind a wife and two children.
Bitner’s widow could be heard telling officers she didn’t know what to feel when Donahue was hauled off to jail.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s a horrible day for both sides,” said Englewood Police Chief John Collins after the sentencing was read. “Is it fair? I guess at the end of the day when he gets out and he makes something of his life and he does what he says he’s going to do.”
Investigators said that Bitner was carried on the windshield of Donahue’s car for more than 70 feet before falling off. He was investigating another DUI case when he was struck.
Prosecutors had hoped for the maximum sentenced of 34 years.
“We have had more drunk driving incidents than anywhere in the state of Colorado. That’s got to stop,” said District Attorney George Brauchler.
“I think it closed a section of the book. Somebody put a book mark in there for us, closed the book and said put it aside for awhile and try to get yourselves back to normal. But it’s not over. Is there ever closure? I don’t know,” said Collins.