Idaho Springs man avoids hard time after hit-and-run
May 18, 2013
An Idaho Springs man who pleaded guilty after a hit-and-run accident that severely injured the victim and ended in a stand-off with law enforcement was sentenced Wednesday to four years in a community corrections program.
Joseph Dykstra was given six years in the Department of Corrections for a felony hit-and-run charge and jail time for two misdemeanor charges — child abuse and DUI — but Clear Creek Judge Rachel Olguin-fresquez allowed the sentence to be suspended if Dykstra successfully completes the four-year direct sentence in a community corrections program.
“My office asked for a straight prison sentence because we felt that the actions were so reprehensible that Mr. Dykstra deserved prison,” District Attorney Bruce Brown stated in a release. “Mr. Dykstra got a lucky break, the judge has acknowledged that, and is sending a message through suspending the sentence that if he deviates from a course of rehabilitation he will go directly to prison. He will not ‘pass go.’”
The accident occurred Jan. 29. Dykstra got behind the wheel of the car, apparently after drinking and with his young son in the car, and hit another driver on Interstate 70 who had gotten out of his vehicle to change a flat tire. A Colorado State Patrol trooper and friend of the victim’s, whose name has not been released, was also outside the car and witnessed the accident.
He said he, “saw the SUV completely out of lanes of travel, traveling down the right shoulder (partially off the pavement),” when it hit his friend. “The victim landed in the lanes of traffic and the vehicle continued eastbound on I-70,” he stated in the release.
The victim was left with a lacerated spleen, bleeding in the brain and a punctured lung. He has recovered from his injuries and is reportedly doing well.
Using part of a headlamp left at the scene, Idaho Springs authorities were able locate the driver, Dykstra. When law enforcement tried to contact him at his house he barricaded himself inside with his wife and young son. Officers from Clear Creek and the Gilpin county SWAT teams responded and drew him out of the residence.
Dykstra pleaded guilty to one felony, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury, as well as driving under the influence and child abuse not resulting in injury, both misdemeanors.
Since the incident, Dykstra has completed a 30-day in-treatment program for alcohol use and was residing in a sober living home.