GRAND LAKE, Colo. (CBS4) – The family of a man killed by a drunk driver in Grand Lake over the Fourth of July holiday last year got some resolution in court on Thursday.
Lucas Ackerman pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of DUI. The plea provided little comfort to the family of the man killed.
For the Westley family, the father of eight, the man they loved is gone, and they say that deserves more than a mere misdemeanor.
It was after the fireworks show in Grand Lake when Ackerman hit and killed Greg Westley. Police say he was going 10 miles an hour slower than the posted speed limit, but they also say he was driving with twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Yet a report by the Colorado State Patrol says alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
"I can't see how the accident would have happened if he had not been drinking," Westley's mother said.
"We as parents have no rights other than to be unhappy," his father said.
But District Attorney Brett Barkey says while he is sympathetic to the family, he feels he had no legal choice but to go with the lesser charge.
"There is the risk that we would have gone through the effort of a trial, we would have put the family through the trauma of a trial, and ultimately have a jury from Grand County say it's not a conviction," Barkey said.
Westley loved the outdoors, loved the beauty of Colorado's mountains, but his parents have little respect for the state's court system that they say failed their son.
Ackerman was sentenced to one year in the county jail, two years of probation, and 120 hours of community service, and alcohol treatment.
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