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DUI Victim’s Family Feels Justice Failed After Driver Serves Less Than Half Of Prison Sentence

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DENVER (CBS4)- Nearly 10 years ago a drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 25 struck and killed two Colorado Department of Transportation workers. That driver has already been released from prison.

It was the worst cone zone crashes in Colorado history. The driver, April Garcia, was sentenced to 24 years in prison but has already been released to a halfway house.

Eladio Lopez and Paul Forster were both killed by Garcia.

Eladio Lopez (credit: CBS)

Eladio Lopez (credit: CBS)

“He was a good man. None of us are perfect but he was a good man,” said Frank Lopez, Eladio’s son.

Eladio was a father and grandfather who went to work one day to repair potholes and never came home.

“All he was doing was one: making a living to provide for my mom and us; and two: he was working to keep our roads safe,” said Lopez.

In 2005 Garcia was sentenced to 24 years in prison for the deaths.

April Garcia (credit: CBS)

April Garcia (credit: CBS)

This week Lopez learned Garcia has already been transferred to a halfway house and is eligible for parole in April.

“In my head my first response was to be angry, rally against her,” said Lopez. “Even though nine years have passed it’s almost like she got a slap on the wrist.”

Lopez said that reaction is trumped by a willingness to forgive.

“I have forgiveness for her as a person because I know every day she has been tormented mentally, possibly physically,” said Lopez.

He also hopes his father’s death has not been in vain.

“I hope that she’s learned from it. I hope she knows that it’s a mistake and I hope she can forgive herself,” said Lopez.

Garcia’s attorney said that she is a very nice young woman with no history of trouble who made a mistake and paid the price.

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