The driver who ran a red light in a stolen car in Denver and smashed into another vehicle, killing two men in the other car, was sentenced to 72 years in prison.
Denver District Court Judge John Madden sentenced Jeffrey D. Sloan, 37, of Glendale in the June 9, 2019, crash that led to the deaths of driver Yasir Hasan and passenger Mark Karla. A jury found Sloan guilty of all counts, including vehicular homicide, on Aug. 18.
“This is beyond question a horrific tragedy … that never should have happened,” Madden said in imposing his sentence. “The victims were doing everything that was right and did nothing wrong. No sentence can reflect the magnitude of the lives lost and their value to their families and community.”
Denver Police officers located a stolen Jeep Liberty on the street on June 9 and approached to investigate. Sloan drove off, eluding the officers at a high rate of speed. As per Denver Police policy, they did not chase the Liberty.
Sloan sped off at nearly two times the speed limit, running a red light at the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. He broadsided a Honda Insight driven by Hasan. Sloan abandoned the Jeep and ran off.
Hasan, who was 33, died at the scene. His passenger, Mark Karla, who was 45, sustained severe and mortal injuries. He was taken to a hospital but did not recover.
Family of both victims attended the sentencing hearing on Oct. 9.
“Mr. Sloan killed my husband,” Karla’s wife told the court. “Every week brings another conversation with our 4-year-old daughter about where her daddy is. … It is impossible to overstate the loss the community feels at these two senseless deaths.”
Hasan’s brother submitted a written impact statement.
“As a family, we try to support each other. … We are trying to fill the empty spaces left behind, but we know that no one can fill his place,” the brother wrote. “No one can erase the silence that haunts us or take away the pain from our bleeding hearts.”
The District Attorney’s Office of the 18th Judicial District was appointed special prosecutor in the case. District Attorney George Brauchler and Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Sugioka were the trial attorneys.
“My words cannot express the depth of the loss suffered by these families at the hands of the defendant,” Brauchler told the court in his sentencing argument. “The community was robbed of two whose greatness was just unfolding before us. We will never know what great things these men would have done.”
Brauchler noted the defendant’s criminal history in urging the court to impose a lengthy sentence. The statutory range was 20-88 years.
“His criminal history is expansive – the longest period of time as an adult he was crime-free was while he was in prison in Georgia. The next longest is while he has been in custody on this case,” Brauchler said. “This is a person who does not feel bound by the law. He wants to avoid responsibility for his conduct at every opportunity. … This killer of two has lived a life of crime, and on top of that, this gutless coward tried to lie his way out of responsibility.”
Judge Madden agreed.
“The effort to get out of trouble makes the situation far worse. Your efforts to avoid contact with police led to the deaths of two perfectly innocent individuals,” he told Sloan. “It is distressing to have you come to Colorado and immediately begin picking up new criminal conduct.”
He imposed a sentence totaling 72 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
The jury convicted Sloan of:
• Two counts of Assault 1-extreme Indifference F3
• Leaving Scene/accident Involving Death F3
• Vehicular Eluding-w/death F3
• Leaving Scene/accident Involving SBI F4
• Vehicular Eluding-w/injury F4
• Two counts of Vehicular Homicide-reckless Driving F4