SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Officer Andrew Maxwell has a brand new baby, just a few weeks old, but he can't sit on the floor to play with his child because of the injuries he's suffered after being rear ended by a drunk driver. That drunk driver was Broncos Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell.
Russell received a seven-month jail sentence and two years of probation after pleading guilty to driving under the influence, careless driving resulting in bodily injury, and open container.
Investigators say Russell started drinking in Denver the morning of July 6, then drove up to Summit County. He got in a small fender bender in Frisco, exchanged information, and proceeded on toward Breckenridge. The other driver in the fender bender called 911.
Officer Maxwell was waiting on the north end of Breckenridge looking for a black Tacoma. He finally saw the truck coming at him at 40 miles per hour in his rear-view mirror. The deputy district attorney said he tried to hit the accelerator to avoid serious injury.
"That night I was part of the problem, I was the problem. I apologize to him. I apologize to his wife, to his family, I apologize to the Breckenridge Police Department who had to respond that night, the town and the state," Matt Russell said in court on Friday.
Maxwell has had neck and knee surgery and will need a second surgery on his knee.
Russell had a B.A.C. of 0.241 and an open bottle of schnapps in his car. In court Russell's wife and friends spoke out, saying the incident changed him.
"Since the incident he's taken the steps to correct himself. He's been committed to the counseling, rehab and testing that's involved," said Mark Thewes, the Broncos Director of Team Administration.
Russell's attorney said the Broncos have tested Russell for alcohol in his urine 100 times since the incident, even on the road.
"Like many that struggle with alcohol Matt will have to fight this for the rest of his life. But Matt has a support network of friends, co-workers and family that won't let him fail," said Mac Freeman, Broncos Senior Vice President of Business Development.
Summit County Judge Edward Casias said he wishes Officer Maxwell would have been able to make it to court -- he was instead at physical therapy. Casias said Russell, a former CU Linebacker, is a lot like the officer, a former baseball player, in size.
"I think it would have been important for you to see how he now walks," Casias said. "I wonder, as I think anyone who has been involved in the processes before, why this wasn't filed as a felony."
Casias said he wanted to impose the maximum penalty, two years in prison, but after Russell had completed a 30-day rehabilitation, alcohol education and other classes, a seven-month sentence with work release was suitable.
The Broncos say they'll still support a sober Russell. In a statement on Friday they said: "We are pleased with the commitment Matt Russell has shown to making positive changes in his life since this incident occurred nearly a year ago. In addition to his successful completion of a month-long inpatient treatment program last summer, he has taken full advantage of outpatient counseling resources and passed every substance abuse test administered as part of his reinstatement to this organization. We will continue to support Matt as a member of the Denver Broncos and this community."
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