A Parker man was sentenced this morning to 9 years in prison for hitting and killing a motorcyclist near Sedalia.
Douglas County District Court Judge David Stevens sentenced Ronald Hargrove, 49, to 9 years in prison for the Class 3 felony “leaving the scene of an accident involving death” in the death of Suzanne Weston of Parker, who was 69.
“You chose to take the risk of getting behind the wheel,” Stevens told Hargrove during sentencing May 28. “Everyone who was on the roadway that day was put at risk – the numbers caught up with you.”
Stevens cited the fact that Hargrove was driving with a revoked license and no sleep. He had two previous DUI convictions but refused to follow through with treatment and “violated out” of the substance abuse programs, Stevens noted.
Hargrove also had low levels of alcohol, THC and prescription medications in his system.
“Yet another driver who somehow feels that driving is a right, and not a privilege,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “This man shouldn’t have been behind the wheel – let alone after consuming alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. But he made an irresponsible, selfish decision, and he cut short the life of Suzanne Weston.
“He has earned every day he will be behind bars for what he did to Suzanne and her family and friends. Hargrove’s sentence will end all too soon. The sentence he imposed on Suzanne Weston will be forever. This is why we build prisons.”
On Oct. 12, 2017, Weston was riding her motorcycle single file with three other motorcyclists on northbound U.S. 85 in Douglas County. The riders moved into the left-turn only lane and slowed to wait for a green light to run onto Colorado 67 toward Sedalia. Weston was last in line.
A 2010 Dodge Ram pickup driven by Hargrove was northbound on U.S. 85. The truck went from the right lane into the left turn lane and cut off other witnesses in a separate vehicle on scene. The truck hit Weston and continued off the right side of the southbound lanes, through a ditch, onto the frontage road. Hargrove got out of his truck, walked over to Weston lying in the road, then got back in the truck and continued driving on the frontage road, eventually heading southbound on 85.
Witnesses got the license plate number. Hargrove was pulled over and arrested by a Douglas County deputy a short time later. Hargrove admitted to fleeing the scene of the crash due because there were warrants for his arrest. His driving privileges in Colorado were suspended at the time.
Weston was taken to the hospital but did not survive her injuries.
Weston’s husband, friends and family spoke to the judge to advocate for a strong sentence.
“For many days I felt as though I could not breathe,” Weston’s stepdaughter said of the days after the crash killed the woman who raised her from age of 11. “When will the sound of Suzannes’ helmet hitting the pavement go away?”
She added: “I would like him to receive the maximum possible sentence for his crimes. I want the universe to punish him, beyond what the court can do, considering the life he took when he chose to consume alcohol, take marijuana and prescription drugs, and drive.”
On March 22, 2019, a Douglas County jury found Hargrove guilty of leaving the scene and of “vehicular homicide, reckless driving,” a Class 4 felony. Colorado law does not mandate prison time for either offense.
Prosecutors called Hargrove’s actions “horrific” and “appalling” in asking Stevens to impose the maximum sentence of 18 years in prison.
“It wasn’t an ‘accident’ in the moments after he crashed.” Deputy District Attorney Dan Warhola told the judge. “He got out of his truck, looked at what he had done, walked back to his truck and fled the scene. It was a choice. He left Suzanne Weston to die in the middle of the highway.”
“His driving was dangerous, reckless, and unsafe to himself and those he shared the roads with that day. Once again, an innocent life is taken because of the dangerous actions of another,” said Deputy District Attorney Joe Whitfield, who tried the case with Warhola. This was preventable. Now, because of his actions, Suzanne Weston’s family has to go on without their loved one.”