GRAND LAKE, Colo. (CBS4) – A family in Grand Lake is angry about a plea deal prosecutors offered an allegedly drunk driver who hit and killed a father of eight.
Gregory Westley died after being hit as he and his family walked on Highway 34 after a fireworks show. Four members of the family were also injured.
Now prosecutors have offered a deal to the arrested driver, Lucas Ackerman. Police say he had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit and he has a previous DUI.
Prosecutors offered Ackerman a plea deal that includes a year in prison, but the Westley family says that’s not an acceptable sentence for a repeat offender.
“It was murder,” said the victim’s mother Connie Westley. “Because the man did not use a knife or a gun but used a car, it should still be considered murder.”
Officials with the Colorado State Patrol say Ackerman was driving 10 miles an hour below the speed limit and say the accident would have happened even if he hadn’t been drinking.
Connie Westley says the district attorney told her getting a conviction would be tough with that report. She disagrees.
“District attorneys should take a harder look at the plea bargains they offer to felons,” she said.
Grand County assistant district attorney Han Ng told CBS she knows Westley’s mother is hurting and she sympathizes, but she also said the office is not soft on crime. She says the plea bargain is a matter of justice.
But for the Westerly family, they feel betrayed.
“I resent the damage to his family who now has to live the rest of their lives without him,” his mother said.