Driver in fatal US 40 crash sentenced to 18 years in prison | SteamboatToday.com

Driver in fatal US 40 crash sentenced to 18 years in prison

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Felix Cervantes, of Denver, was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for reckless vehicular homicide after causing a head-on crash in May 2017 that killed a passenger in the other car.

The 18-year prison sentence — the maximum allowed under the law — was handed down by Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak, according to a news release from the 14th Judicial District.

Felix Cervantes

The deadly crash occurred Memorial Day 2017 at mile marker 161 on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass. Cervantes was traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 40 in his Dodge Durango when he passed in a no-passing zone at the top of a hill. He hit a GMC Envoy head-on, killing 24-year-old Breckenridge resident James Fagan.

Cervantes and Lienchai Harker, the driver of the GMC, received serious injuries in the crash and were transported to Denver-area hospitals.

"This represents one of the worst-case scenarios when people get impatient traveling on a two-lane mountain highway,” Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Dowell said when asking Judge Hoak to impose the maximum sentence. “Traffic safety on our mountain roads in Northwest Colorado is a critical priority, and the sentence here should send a clear message that reckless indifference to human life on the road brings the heaviest of consequences."

Cervantes, who had warrants for his arrest at the time of the crash, was not impaired by alcohol or drugs, according to Colorado State Patrol.

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"Mr. Cervantes' grossly reckless behavior resulted in senseless loss and tragedy,” District Attorney Brett Barkey was quoted as saying in the release. “Today's sentence cannot undo that tragedy, but it does send a strong message that such a blatant disregard for the right of all Coloradans to travel our roads safely will not be tolerated."

To reach Nicole Miller, call 970-871-4206, email nmiller@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @millerna.