A jury consisting of twelve citizens from the County of Montrose, Colorado, returned two verdicts of Guilty against Daniel Stewart in the Montrose District Court on Monday, March 7, 2017. The Office of the District Attorney filed the following charges on April 2, 2015:

  • Count One: Vehicular Homicide-Reckless Driving (Kari Nelson), C.R.S. § 18-3-106(1)(a), a class four felony; and
  • Count Two: Vehicular Assault – Reckless Driving (David Nelson), C.R.S. § 18-3-205(1)(a), a class five felony.

The jury returned verdicts of Guilty to two lesser-included counts of:

  • Count One: Careless Driving Causing Death (Kari Nelson), C.R.S. 42-4-1402(1),(2)(c), a class one Misdemeanor Traffic Offense; and
  • Count Two: Careless Driving Causing Injuries (David Nelson), C.R.S. 42-4-1402(1),(2)(b), a class one Misdemeanor Traffic Offense.

The Jury Trial commenced in Montrose District Court on February 28, 2017, before the Honorable Keri Yoder, and the evidence was presented to the jury through March 4, 2017.

These criminal offenses occurred on August 29, 2014, on Highway 50 east of Montrose, Colorado. Two motor vehicles were involved in a head-on collision that resulted in the death of Kari Nelson and serious injuries sustained by David Nelson, husband and wife, both of Rancho Cucamonga, California. The crash occurred when the Defendant moved into the oncoming lane in an attempt to pass another vehicle while heading westbound and downhill about ½ mile past Cerro Summit.  This case was investigated by the Colorado State Patrol.

The investigation of cases involving death and serious injury is always taken very seriously and involves a large commitment of time and resources. In this case, the District Attorney specifically recognizes the efforts and contributions of Colorado State Patrol Trooper David Kerker, Master Trooper Dave Copeland, and Sergeant Chad Martin, who testified at trial.

David Nelson, whose wife was killed in the crash and who himself sustained life threatening injuries, as well as other family members of Kari Nelson, expressly wish to express their deep gratitude to all the jurors that agreed to serve in this case, all the witnesses that testified at trial, and the numerous first responders and law enforcement officers involved in the response to the scene and subsequent investigation of this case.

Mr. Nelson appreciates that the facts about this incident have been made public and, along with the District Attorney, sincerely hopes that this case will serve as a reminder to all drivers to use due care at all times. The potential for extreme tragedy and great loss, especially on our two-lane rural highways, is literally traveling at a high-speed in the opposite direction only a few feet away.

The Court ordered that a presentence investigation be performed by the Probation Department prior to sentencing.  The date of the sentencing hearing is May 22, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. in the Montrose District Court. The Court can impose a sentence of from 10 days to up to one year in jail and a fine of from $300.00 up to $1,000.00 on each count for which the verdict was returned in this case.

People v. Daniel Stewart (Montrose County District Court)
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