Man given jail time in wreck that killed woman
A former Fruita man was ordered Friday to spend nine months in jail for killing a woman in a 2006 drunken-driving wreck, ending a case in which lawyers and family members on both sides disagreed to the end about who was behind the wheel.
Mesa County District Judge Richard Gurley also gave 28-year-old Jade Huskey a four-year deferred sentence, meaning his record will be wiped clean if he stays out of trouble during that time. Huskey also must pay $20,000 in restitution to the District Attorney’s Office and drive with an interlock device that will prevent his car from starting if he breathes into it and is intoxicated.
Huskey and 35-year-old Molly Gomez were the occupants of a Ford Mustang that was speeding up to 140 mph before it crashed on Interstate 70 near Fruita on Feb. 25, 2006. Both were ejected and later found to be intoxicated.The wreck killed Gomez
Huskey told police he couldn’t remember what happened in the accident. He initially pleaded not guilty, and his attorney, Gordon Gallagher, hired a private forensic pathologist who testified that Gomez suffered injuries indicating she was the driver. Prosecution witnesses testified otherwise.
Gurley declared a mistrial after a jury split 6-6 over a verdict in July.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys forged a unique plea agreement in which Huskey pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving while his ability was impaired, but wouldn’t receive any prison time.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Hand said he doesn’t doubt “for one minute” that Huskey was driving, adding that discouraging people from drinking and driving “isn’t a clich&233; but a dire warning that we should all heed.”
Linda Gomez, Molly’s mother, said she couldn’t forgive Huskey.
“I don’t know how he can look at himself in the mirror or sleep at night,” she said at the beginning of an emotional, hour-long sentencing hearing.
But Huskey’s family insisted he wasn’t responsible for the accident and that he pleaded guilty only because he and his family had exhausted their financial resources and couldn’t afford to take the case to trial a second time.
Huskey’s mother, Jamie, criticized the Colorado State Patrol, alleging it improperly collected and preserved evidence in the case. She also said the legal system “is not at all what I thought it was.”
“My son has been found guilty of nothing,” she said. “His crime is running out of money to defend himself.”
Huskey, who now works in a mine in Utah, stood up from his chair and said he extended his “sincerest apologies” to the Gomez family while also asserting his innocence.
“Your honor, whatever judgment you pass down I will complete and I will do to the best of my abilities,” he said.