An Aurora man has been sentenced to prison for driving drunk without a license, crashing, and killing the woman who was a passenger in his car.
Arapahoe County District Judge Andrew Baum on Friday sentenced Maurice Palmer, 32, to 10 years in the Department of Corrections for the 2016 death of Ananiece Foshee, who was 28.
On April 26, 2018, Palmer pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide DUI in Foshee’s death. Lesser charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
“Another life lost due to the selfish decision-making of a drunk driver. There is no mystery to ending drunk driving fatalities immediately: Do not drive if you have been drinking or ingesting intoxicating substances,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “Overnight, we could end this scourge on our roads from which there is no protection for our families. Until drunk and high drivers put the safety of our community over their short-sighted interests, our office will continue to seek prison for the deaths they cause.”
On July 2, 2016, Palmer and Foshee were at a bowling alley in Aurora. During the evening Palmer smoked marijuana and drank alcohol.
About 10:30 p.m., the two walked out to Palmer’s black Ford Explorer in the parking lot. Surveillance video shows Foshee walked to the driver side door, but Palmer got in the driver seat. There was a discussion, and Foshee ended up in the passenger seat.
At 10:48 p.m. police responded to the intersection of South Chambers Road and East Crestline Avenue where the Explorer had hit a light pole. Both Palmer and Foshee were ejected.
Palmer was treated at a hospital; Foshee died.
Palmer told police Foshee was driving. The evidence and video told a different story.
The crash data recorder from the Explorer indicated the SUV was travelling at 80 mph when it hit the light pole. The posted speed limit on Chambers Road at that location is 40 mph.
Blood samples from Palmer tested 0.133 BAC. The limit for drunk driving is 0.08 BAC.
Palmer’s driver’s license was revoked in 2014 because of his status as a habitual traffic offender.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jake Adkins, who prosecuted the case, pointed to Palmer’s history — and the fact that had previously completed a DUI victim impact panel — in asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence allowed under the plea agreement.
Palmer “knew the consequences of driving drunk, but that was not enough to stop him,” Adkins said. “He’s been given opportunity to change his behavior, and he hasn’t done that.”
Several friends and family of Foshee also made statements during the hearing.
“I have had to endure two years of fighting for the right thing,” said Foshee’s mother, referring to the lengthy court process during which Palmer was out on bond. “When you don’t do the right thing, you have to endure the consequences.”
Foshee’s uncle also spoke of the time since the crash.
“I would like for you to consider that we have been waiting 2 years to lock him up,” he told the judge. “We are dealing with a murderer and a killer. He certainly murdered (Ananiece). … Hold him accountable and lock him up.”
Judge Baum listened, then ruled Palmer would serve 10 years.
“It appears a very bright light was extinguished because of your choices,” he told Palmer. “This is made all the more serious by the aggravating factors … I keep going back to how fast you were going and how intoxicated you were. You smoked pot, drank four shots and still thought it was Ok to get behind the wheel.”