Man who hit and killed 6-year-old at Farmers Korner receives jail sentence
BRECKENRIDGE — Mauricio Lozano Gonzalez, who accidentally killed a small boy in a traffic collision earlier this year, pleaded guilty to careless driving resulting in a death and was sentenced Tuesday to jail during a hearing at the Summit County Justice Center.
On April 9, Lozano Gonzalez, 20, was driving through the Farmers Korner mobile home park near Summit High School when he hit a 6-year-old boy on a bike who lived in the park. Lozano Gonzalez helped drive the boy and members of his family to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, but the boy didn’t survive the accident.
At the hearing Tuesday, Lozano Gonzalez accepted a plea agreement, pleading guilty to careless driving and driving without a valid license, though he did have a valid license at the time of the crash. He accepted the additional charge as part of the plea agreement.
The court proceeded with sentencing immediately after, hearing from the boy’s and Lozano Gonzalez’s families, both of which lamented the tragic incident and spoke about the impact it has had on their lives.
The boy’s mother was the first to address the court via a prepared statement read by the prosecution. In her statement, she said her family was left shattered from the accident and that they’re still struggling to emotionally deal with the aftermath.
“I feel inside as if I were dying,” she wrote. “We may move on, but our hearts sob every moment of every day.”
She continued to call on the court to hand down a maximum allowable sentence, noting that no length of incarceration could account for the pain and trauma her family has experienced and would continue to experience moving forward.
Lozano Gonzalez’s mother and girlfriend spoke on his behalf at the hearing, urging the judge to show leniency in his sentence and remarking on his character.
“He’s a young man that just started to live his life,” his mother, Laura, said. “I ask why this tragedy had to happen to them, and to us. … He is a very different person compared to the one he was before the accident. Since that moment, we’ve been there for him, and we’ve been praying for both families. We’re all devastated.”
Finally, Lozano Gonzalez spoke for himself, offering an apology to the boy’s family and expressing that the incident has changed his life considerably.
“If there was anything I could do to bring him back, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” Lozano Gonzalez said. “These last couple months have been hard. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it.”
Lozano Gonzalez’s attorney, Monica McElyea, and Senior Deputy District Attorney Lisa Hunt agreed that a maximum sentence wasn’t necessarily appropriate for the case, pointing to the fact that Lozano Gonzalez clearly didn’t hit the boy on purpose, he wasn’t speeding (investigators estimate he was going about eight miles per hour at the time of the crash), he wasn’t impaired in any capacity, and he stopped to assist and take the boy to the hospital after the accident.
County Judge Edward Casias agreed, calling the alignment of events over the 10 seconds that resulted in the boy’s death a “perfect storm.” He noted that there were aggravating factors in the case, and that while excessive speed wasn’t a factor in the accident, distracted driving and visual obstructions likely were — noting that a hat on the dashboard and an incoming call on Lozano Gonzalez’s phone might have contributed to the accident.
Still, Casias commended Lozano Gonzalez for his actions following the crash.
“You didn’t run,” Casias said. “Cowards run. You stayed, and you faced what happened. And at the emergency room, you stayed and faced what happened. You faced the pain directed at you and your own pain.”
Ultimately Casias sentenced Lozano Gonzalez to a year in jail in addition to a one-year probation period. Casias suspended 305 days of the jail sentence, which Lozano Gonzalez will have to serve only if he violates his probation. Lozano Gonzalez also is required to complete 100 hours of useful public service, along with paying court fines.
Before closing the hearing, Casias urged Lozano Gonzalez to make the most of his opportunities moving forward.
“I’m hoping as you succeed and move forward, you recognize you prevented someone else from having that chance,” Casias said. “It’s your responsibility to be successful now. Don’t throw your life away because of the conduct that happened here.”
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