Vehicular homicide hearing postponed to March 11 |

Vehicular homicide hearing postponed to March 11

Jane Stebbins

FAIRPLAY – A preliminary hearing in a case involving the death of a Breckenridge man was continued to March 11 after the defendant’s attorney said he was unable to get to court.

The defendant, Lee Phillips of Hartsel, is charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and driving under the influence for a Jan. 15 accident. Phillips was driving southbound on Highway 9 between Alma and Fairplay when his truck swerved into the path of an oncoming car. Killed in the accident was 18-year-old Marcus Shirley of Farmer’s Korner. Charles Graham of Breckenridge, a passenger in Shirley’s Subaru, was critically injured.

Phillips, 40, has a history of drinking and driving in Colorado, including a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Summit County for which he had yet to go to court when the fatal accident occurred. He also has an upcoming court hearing in Chaffee County involving a disorderly conduct case.

Due to legal technicalities, Phillips driver’s license was not revoked after his arrest Jan. 18. He still is permitted to drive.

Phillips reported to Park County District Court Monday with a large bandage wrapped around his right hand, the result of injuries suffered when his pickup truck rolled in the accident.

Defense attorney Rodney Loomis called courthouse officials early Monday morning to report he had car trouble, but thought he’d be able to make the 1 p.m. court appearance. District Court Judge Kenneth Plotz then called him back at 1:15 p.m., at which point Loomis said he would be unable to get to court.

Plotz also amended Phillips’ bond to state that he is not allowed to consume alcohol or illegal substances, a condition that was overlooked when Phillips was released on a $50,000 bond.

“I probably shouldn’t even have to say that,” Plotz told Phillips. “If it came to me there was any alcohol or illegal substance use, I’d revoke your bond and order you arrested.”

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