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Prosecutors Outraged Over Drunk Uber Driver's Sentence

By Stan Bush

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Prosecutors are fuming over the sentencing of a drunk Uber driver who caused a head-on collision with a passenger in the car in Douglas County.

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(credit: Karl Gopsill)

On January 20, 2017, Brian Haas hit Karl Gopsill while going through an intersection at East Lincoln Ave and Chambers Rd in Douglas County. Haas' blood-alcohol level was .228, nearly three times over the legal limit.

Brian Haas
Brian Haas (credit: 18th Judicial District)

Prosecutors argued for Haas, 44, to be sentenced to six years in prison, citing two previous DWAIs from 1992 and 1996, but the judge sentenced Haas to three years of community service and time served.

Haas had spent 65 days in jail.

DRUNK UBER DRIVER 10PKG.transfer_frame_0
(credit: Karl Gopsill)

"I don't think it's acceptable. I don't understand how you can drive under the influence three different times and change three lives and get nothing from it," said Gopsill.

UBER LAWSUIT.transfer_frame_0
CBS4's Stan Bush interviews Karl Gopsill. (credit: CBS)

In 2017, the state legislature tightened loopholes in Colorado's DUI laws -- requiring 120 days in jail for a third misdemeanor DUI and felony charges for a fourth DUI.

Haas' crash falls outside some of the law's guidelines, but prosecutors argue the interpretation of the law was too lenient.

"The only place for a repeat drunken driver with such an extraordinary BAC who hurts somebody while driving drunk is prison. That is for what we asked on behalf of the community we work to protect," said District Attorney George Brauchler.

UPDATE: On May 9 the district attorney's office released the following information about this case:

"The news release from yesterday dated May 8 mentioned Uber based on information presented in court:

- The victim told officers on scene she had contacted defendant Brian Haas via the Uber app
- The defendant told police the victim contacted him because he was an Uber driver
- The defendant's car had an Uber sticker
- The defendant told the court after the verdict that he was an Uber driver

Uber has contacted us to say that defendant did not have access to Uber app at the time of the accident and Uber has no record of the transaction."

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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