Intoxicated driver gets prison for death of son

Christopher Small, 31, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide

Staff report
Posted 12/28/18

A Colorado Springs man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for driving drunk and high in a crash that killed his 4-year-old son, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District. …

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Intoxicated driver gets prison for death of son

Christopher Small, 31, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide

Posted

A Colorado Springs man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for driving drunk and high in a crash that killed his 4-year-old son, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District.

Christopher Small, 31, pleaded guilty Oct. 9 to vehicular homicide driving under the influence in the Feb. 20 crash that killed his son, Lucca. According to the release, Small had been drinking before leaving work to pick up his son from a day care in Woodland Park, with plans to then pick up his daughter elsewhere. Small told investigators he had two shots of Fireball whiskey in Limon. The release states evidence indicated he had been drinking after that as well.

Small picked up Lucca in his Lexus RX350 and was driving on Colorado 67 in Douglas County when he lost control on a curve. Lucca, who was in a booster seat in the back, was killed.

“To this court, what is most devastating is … he made a decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car and consciously made a decision to alter previously set plans and go and pick up his children,” said Judge Shay Whittaker. “What is even more horrifying is that it could have been worse — he was on his way to pick up” his daughter.

A blood-alcohol test four hours after the crash came back at 0.098 percent. A lab would have testified that small was at a minimum 0.19 percent at the time of the crash. The blood tests also showed 3.5 nanograms per milliliter of THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

Evidence indicated Small was driving 75 mph on the road with a 50 mph speed limit. The road was dry and conditions were sunny just before 3 p.m. There was no indication Small touched his brakes before the car went off the road.

“My baby did not die: He was killed,” Lucca's mother, Ashley Whittemore, told the court in a victim impact statement during sentencing. Lucca “laid in the snow with a broken neck, a swollen brain and a stopped heart.”

Small was also arrested on a DUI charge in November while he was out on bond.

The plea agreement called for 12 to 20 years in prison. Deputy District Attorney Dan Warhola asked the judge for the maximum sentence. Small's 18-year sentence will be followed by five years of mandatory parole.

“A father is a provider and a protector. This defendant was the exact opposite of that on Feb. 20,” Warhola said in his sentencing argument. “Killing his own son wasn't enough to stop him.”

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