Brighton man accused of vehicular homicide related to South Routt County crash

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Mark E. Hendrixson

— A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a man accused of vehicular homicide related to a suspected DUI crash in October in South Routt County that killed the passenger.

Vehicular homicide is a Class 3 felony that carries a presumptive prison sentence of four to 12 years. Mark E. Hendrixson, 55, of Brighton, also has been charged with DUI, careless driving, driving without insurance and driving under restraint. According to the charges filed by the Routt County District Attorney’s Office, Hendrixson’s license or driving privileges were suspended at the time because of a previous alcohol-related conviction.

A message left with Hendrixson’s attorney in Westminster was not immediately returned Wednesday. Hendrixson appeared in Routt County court last week, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 1:15 p.m. April 8.

Robert Bratz, 72, was killed in the Oct. 4 crash that occurred near mile marker 28 on Colorado Highway 131 about six miles south of Toponas. It is thought the men were in the area fishing.

According to the news release, the men were driving south, and the 1998 Ford Crown Victoria went off the right side of the road on a downhill curve going to the left. Hendrixson then abruptly steered the car to the left, and the car went across the road while rotating counterclockwise. The car went off the left side of the road and rolled 1 1/2 times before stopping on its roof.

Bratz was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt and had been partially ejected through the windshield.

Hendrixson was wearing a seat belt and was injured seriously in the crash. He was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center and then flown to Denver Health Medical Center.

The trooper investigating the crash thought both men had been drinking. A breath test confirmed Hendrixson had been drinking, according to the accident report. Hendrixson also was suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and submitted to a blood test, according to the report.

Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said Wednesday that he could not discuss the test results because they are evidence in the case.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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