Man may avoid prison in fatal crash

A Grand Junction man may avoid prison under a plea agreement reached Thursday in connection with a fatal impaired driving crash in a Pear Park neighborhood.

Joseph Weixel, 22, pleaded guilty Thursday in District Judge Richard Gurley’s courtroom to vehicular homicide and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and driving while ability impaired. Weixel has agreed to a sentence of six to eight years in Mesa County Community Corrections, Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre said of the terms of the deal.

He’ll face up to eight years in prison only if he’s not accepted into the community corrections program, or if he’s rejected after acceptance, Mahre said.

Weixel has agreed to, and will pay for, victim mediation in the case, meaning he’d likely meet face-to-face at least once with the victim’s family before sentencing.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20.

Weixel was arrested in connection with the crash Oct. 2, 2011, which critically injured 50-year-old Darinda Brown in the 400 block of Canyon Trail in Pear Park. Brown was out walking with her teenage granddaughter in their neighborhood. Weixel’s GMC Suburban went up onto a sidewalk, striking Brown and running over her while killing her dog. Brown’s granddaughter narrowly avoided being struck.

Brown died several days later at St. Mary’s Hospital.

An arrest affidavit said officers noted an odor of alcohol on Weixel’s breath and concluded he was under the influence of marijuana and a depressant.

He’s being held at the Mesa County Jail on $50,000 bond.


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