Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Corporate Lawyer Gets 9 Years for Hit and Run on Cyclist

The ABAJournal reports that a corporate lawyer is going to jail for a hit and run accident involving a Jefferson County, Colorado public Defender.  Here's the version from the Denver Post:

"Jeffrey Scott Detlefs, 57, was an attorney with Kerr Brosseau Bartlett O'Brien last August when his Lexus sport-utility vehicle struck Jefferson County public defender Rex Hegyi, who was riding his bicycle along the Evergreen Parkway ramp to Interstate 70.

Detlefs drove off with his three children -- 11-year-old twins and an 8-year-old -- in the vehicle. His license plate fell off in the collision, and he was arrested at his home a short time later.  Hegyi was seriously injured but recovered.

The Denver District Attorney's office prosecuted the case because Hegyi is a Jefferson County public defender. Detlefs was sentenced last Friday and taken immediately to prison. He agreed to plead guilty in January. His sentence includes a number of conditions, including a review of his sentence after he serves a minimum of 120 days in state prison.

At that time, a judge could convert his sentence to 10 years of probation, said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office.

Detlefs was previously arrested in Littleton on a drunken-driving charge in 1985. He was cited for dangerous mountain driving in 2004 in Lake County, and pleaded guilty to speeding in the case, according to computerized court records.

As a lawyer, Detlefs represented insurance companies in coverage disputes and other matters for more than 26 years.

The conviction on a felony change -- or any charge involving alcohol -- mandates a review and decision by the Colorado Supreme Court's Office of Attorney Regulation before Detlefs would be allowed to practice law again when he is released from prison, according to the agency."
It is said that the Universe has an endless capacity to teach you the lessons you need to learn.  In Mr Detlefs' case it sounds like it may have had something to do with a longstanding use and abuse of alcohol. 

I'm relieved for him and his children that he did not have to kill someone to get this message, and I empathize like almost know one else can over the loss of status, and the legal peril he's experience.  As a cyclist, I am relieved that Colorado takes these sorts of criminal acts very seriously.

Mr. Detlefs sounds like he'll be uniquely equipped to tell a powerful story of recovery, if he can recover.

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