On June 5, 2018, our beautiful daughter, Amanda Elizabeth Hill, age 24, was driving from our home in Parker, CO, to an appointment in Castle Rock, CO. She was on Crowfoot Valley Road heading south in her Toyota RAV4. It was a sunny Tuesday, about 2:00 in the afternoon on a wide open 2-lane road and the speed limit 50 mph. A driver, Francisco Sanchez, was going north on Crowfoot Valley Road. He was noticed weaving on the road by the driver in the vehicle behind him. He crossed the center line and side swiped the vehicle in front of Amanda, and then hit Amanda’s car head on. The car he side swiped hit the vehicle behind his vehicle. It was a 4-car crash. Our daughter was flown to Swedish Medical Center and we were notified that she was in extremely critical condition. All of her limbs were broken in multiple places, and had several breaks in her pelvis. We spent 3 difficult days at her bedside with our son. However, her injuries were too severe and we had to take her off life support and said goodbye to our cherished daughter, Amanda, on June 8, 2018.
The person that was driving the vehicle that hit Amanda was 19 years old. There were two other individuals in his car. The passenger in the front seat was the owner of the vehicle…she gave him the keys to drive. They had all been together partying prior to this crash doing cocaine and smoking marijuana. The driver claimed that he did not know/remember what happened to cause the crash. The driver submitted to a blood test almost 4 hours after the crash. His blood test came back with 3.7 ng THC and cocaine metabolites. He was arrested in July and his bail was set at $50,000, which he could not produce. Therefore he remained in jail for the duration of the case against him and the sentencing. He was charged with one count vehicular homicide reckless, one count of vehicular assault, and Driving While Ability Impaired. We spent 11 months going to court making sure we were at every court hearing in honor of our daughter. Ultimately the Judge sentenced him to 6 years for vehicular homicide, 2 years for vehicular assault, and 180 days in jail on the DWAI. However, she also suspended the 180-day jail sentence and one year each for the other two sentences. Therefore, he received 6 years. But, in Colorado, the sentence is automatically cut in half for “good behavior”. That made it 3 years. Also, he was given credit for time served in jail of almost 1 year. Therefore, he would only serve 2 years in prison. But guess what? He was given credit for additional good behavior and is currently up for parole before the 2 years are complete. Very painful to us.
Some of our concerns include:
- He was 19 years old and therefore too young to purchase recreational marijuana. It is unlawful for minors to have any alcohol when driving and there is no need to prove impairment. Why does the same not apply to drugs in minor drivers?
- The sheriff and several other people attending to Amanda at the scene stated that the driver clearly appeared to be on drugs and driving under the influence. His blood was drawn for drug testing nearly 4 hours after the crash. The test result was 3.7 ng/ml of THC, well below Colorado’s 5 ng/ml permissible inference level for DUI. That is not surprising given the delay in obtaining a blood draw. Why does Colorado have a 5 ng/ml THC law that effectively protects drivers from a DUI conviction?
We are thankful that he spent any time in prison. But less than 2 years feels like a slap on the wrist and does not send a message. Less than 2 years for a conscious decision to drive impaired causing the loss of our daughter’s life is incomprehensible.
We fight in memory of our loving daughter. We miss her every day and want to help change the laws with regard to drug impaired driving.