An Uber driver with a history of drinking and driving who was drunk when he crashed and injured his passenger has been sentenced to three years in Community Corrections.
Brian Haas, 44, of Denver, was sentenced in Douglas County District Court on Friday, May 4. A jury on March 1 convicted Haas of vehicular assault-DUI; driving under the influence with two or more priors; and careless driving resulting in injury.
Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence.
“A driver whose blood-alcohol content is in excess of four times the .05 legal limit is Uber drunk and should not be putting the community at risk by driving at all, let alone with unsuspecting passengers in his car,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “The only place for a repeat drunken driver with such an extraordinary BAC who hurts somebody while driving drunk is prison. That is for what we asked on behalf of the community we work to protect.”
On Jan. 20, 2017, a 38-year-old woman contacted Haas through the Uber app to get a ride home from a grocery store in Aurora. She got into the front seat of Haas’ Hyundai Elantra.
Haas was traveling eastbound on East Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County. Haas attempted to turn left onto South Chambers Road, but he failed to yield to oncoming traffic that had a green traffic signal.
Haas collided with a Lexus SUV driven by a 48-year-old man. The driver of the Lexus received a concussion and some nerve damage in his arm; both Haas and his passenger were taken to Parker Adventist Hospital.
Deputies at the scene noticed a strong smell of alcohol in the Hyundai. The deputy who interviewed Haas at the hospital detected alcohol on Haas’ breath and noticed his speech was slurred. A blood test determined his blood-alcohol levels were at 0.228.
The female passenger was treated for several broken ribs.
“This man should never have been behind the wheel, let alone with a paying customer,” said Deputy District Attorney Daniel Warhola, who tried the case with Deputy District Attorney Joe Whitfield. “When we drive on public roads, we rely on the fact that other drivers are competent and sober. That is why any action such as those taken by this defendant undermine the societal compact and must be taken seriously.”
Prosecutors sought the maximum sentence of six years in the Department of Corrections.
Haas was sentenced to three years in the Department of Corrections for the vehicular assault charge. That sentence is suspended pending successful completion of the three-year community corrections sentence. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail on the DUI count, also suspended. On the careless driving count, the judge sentenced Hass to 10 days in jail; he has already been in jail for 65 days, so no more jail time need be served.
Haas has a DWAI conviction out of Boulder County in 1996 as well as DWAI out of El Paso County from 1992.