Victim's dad asks for driver not be prosecuted

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Bruce Campbell lost his son in a deadly car crash Sunday.

On Monday, Bruce Campbell wrote a letter requesting that his son's lifelong friend Mario James Lintz be released from jail and not prosecuted on felony charges for the accident that killed 19-year-old John Campbell.

Campbell's son was killed when he was ejected from a sports car driven by Lintz when the car wrecked on County Road 62.

Lintz was arrested Monday for two felonies and suspicion of drunken driving.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 19-year-old Denver man appeared in Routt County Judge James Garrecht's courtroom.

"If Mario must face charges stemming from this accident, which I hope is not the case, I am confident he will return to court if he is released on bond," Bruce Campbell wrote in a letter dated Monday.

Lintz's attorney, Kristopher Hammond, submitted the letter to Garrecht.

Because of Campbell's letter, Garrecht lowered Lintz's bond from $20,000 to $5,000. Lintz posted the amount later in the day.

"The victim's family does not have any objection," Garrecht said.

Hammond argued for lowering the bond because Campbell wants Lintz to be there for the funeral.

"Mario is close friends with the three victims, and a close friend of the Campbell family," Hammond said.

"Mr. Campbell wants Mario to stand by him and his wife at his son's funeral."

Deputy District Attorney David Moffat argued for the standard bond for the alleged crimes, which is $20,000.

"He is not from Routt County," Moffat said.

"We feel the standard bond will ensure his attendance at his next court appearance."

During Tuesday's court proceeding, Lintz sat in a juror box with his right arm in a sling and a swollen left eye.

With his parents and four friends sitting in the gallery, Lintz cried numerous times and wiped away tears with his left hand.

According to Campbell's letter, Lintz was his son's "closest friend," and his family has been friends with Lintz's parents since the boys were babies.

Campbell described Lintz as a "decent, hardworking, bright young man," the letter states.

Lintz's best friend was killed when he was ejected from a 1995 Toyota Celica just after 2:30 a.m. Sunday on the county road just off County Road 29. The car went off the side of the road and flipped onto its roof.

Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene. Lintz and the vehicle's owner, Leslie Gibson, 19, of Steamboat Springs, were injured and taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center.

A fourth person in the car, 19-year-old Zachary Wurtzebach of Denver, escaped with minor scrapes and bruises.

Wurtzebach was among the friends that appeared in court Tuesday to support Lintz.

Because of the accident, Lintz suffered an injury to his right shoulder, and Gibson sustained broken ribs and a punctured lung. Both were released from the hospital Monday afternoon.

That is when Lintz was arrested by authorities. He faces charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, which are felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and driving with a suspended license.

The third-degree assault charge stems from Lintz's alleged behavior at the hospital.

As a nurse was drawing blood from Lintz's arm at the hospital, the suspect allegedly kicked the woman in the stomach, court records show.

Lintz's next court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 29.

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