An Aurora woman who was driving a car that hit and killed a bicyclist in Parker was sentenced today, April 13, to 30 days in jail.
Douglas County Judge Monica Gomez sentenced Beth Ann Young, 55, to 2 years supervised probation, 300 hours public service and 30 days jail with work release for the death of John “Jake” Kirby, 53, of Parker. Young pleaded guilty March 15 to careless driving resulting in death.
“In most cases judges don’t impose jail time in these cases,” Gomez acknowledged in announcing the sentence. But “this culture that we have learned to accept says distracted driving is normal, where an individual does not receive punishment. … I feel we may be getting too comfortable with that.”
District Attorney George Brauchler was involved in the decision to seek jail time for the defendant.
“There can be no greater or worse outcome from distracted driving than the death of an innocent person — a father, friend, son, and beloved member of our community,” he said. “Jail is not a reflection of the defendant’s character. It is, in part, a reflection of the outcome. While no amount of incarceration can replace what has been taken, drivers in our community must take heed that distracted driving will be treated seriously. What email, text, post or song is worth a life?”
On Nov. 27, 2017, at 3:45 p.m. Young was driving a 2009 Mazda CX-7 sport utility vehicle eastbound on Hess Road, just west of Double Angel Road. Kirby was on his bicycle on the shoulder of Hess Road, also going eastbound.
Young told investigators she looked down to adjust her car stereo, drifted off the road and hit Kirby on his bike. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Her actions that night took a life,” Deputy District Attorney Amanda Hensen told the court. “As a society we value human life. As a sanction for taking a human life, the statue allows for jail time to be imposed.”
Ten members of Kirby’s family addressed the court during sentencing, including his three children and his fiancé.
“The car did not veer off the road by itself,” Kirby’s fiancé said in her statement, directed to Young. “You took the life of a beautiful man.”
“Drivers who injure or kill because of an avoidable choice should get more than a slap on the wrist,” Kirby’s stepmother said.
In her remarks, Kirby’s sister noted that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.