Driver Charged with Homicide for Crash That Killed Colorado Biking Star
A 23-year-old woman is facing vehicular homicide charges for her role in a July crash that killed Colorado competitive cyclist Magnus White.
The woman was driving her Toyota Matrix on Highway 119 from Longmont to Boulder when she drifted from her lane into the right shoulder and collided with White, who was launched from his bike, according to prosecutors. They believe she was asleep or nodding off behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
“In a review of the information from this case, it appears as though [the driver] chose to drive her vehicle after receiving very little sleep,” a Boulder County police officer said in a sworn affidavit. “She even told her friend…that she was ‘falling asleep’ about 20 minutes before the crash and then getting on the road to drive to Boulder.”
A witness told cops that the woman’s car was swerving in the moments leading up to the crash, according to the affidavit. The vehicle continued off the roadway and down the grass embankment after striking White.
The woman, reportedly a Ukrainian refugee living and working in Colorado, was arrested and criminally charged in December, some five months after the collision. She told the court no criminal history in the U.S. or Ukraine.
A judge ordered that she be held on a $100,000 bond.
“Magnus’s death could have been prevented,” White’s family said in a statement following the driver’s arrest. “It underscores the responsibility of every driver to safely operate their vehicle.”
White had been preparing for the Junior Men’s Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Championships, due to start in Glasgow, Scotland in August. It was the first time he had earned a spot on the team competing in the event.
White began racing at the age of 10 and was said to be on the path to a career in competitive cycling, focusing in particular in off-road events. He represented USA Cycling in a season of European Cyclocross racing after winning the 2021 Junior 17-18 Cyclocross National Championships.
Vehicular homicide is a class four felony in Colorado. A conviction comes with two to six years in prison and as much as $500,000 in fines.
White’s family called for the driver to receive “the maximum penalty for her crime,” according to reports. “Not only for her willful actions but also for the profound pain and suffering endured by Magnus’s mother, father, brother, family, friends, teammates, and entire community — a dark shadow of grief that will hang over them for the remainder of their lives,” the family said.
“As parents, we teach our children about consequences and accountability,” the family continued. “We believe in consequences and accountability when Magnus was alive and we held him to that. Magnus believed in this as well.”
Wrongful Death Claims After Fatal Traffic Accidents
The loved ones of a person who dies in a traffic accident in Colorado generally have the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the collision.
The money damages typically available in these cases are meant to compensate family members for the financial impact of losing a loved one. That includes compensation for medical and burial costs as well as the loss of the person’s financial and emotional support.
To be clear, no amount of money can ever allow you to go back in time to stop an accident from happening. A wrongful death action can, however, help ease the financial strain that often comes with the loss of a loved one. It can also provide a certain level of closure by getting justice and ensuring that those responsible are made accountable for their actions.
State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.
In order to successfully pursue a wrongful death claim you have to be able to prove that a driver or other party is legally liable for your loved one’s death.
Negligent drivers are often to blame in car accidents. Negligence is a legal theory that holds people and entities liable in certain situations when they do not live up to a specific “duty of care” required under the circumstances.
Anyone behind the wheel of a car, truck, bus or motorcycle in Colorado has a “duty of care” to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means complying with traffic laws, avoiding distraction, staying off the road when fatigued and refraining from dangerous activity like texting and driving or getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
A driver who does not live up to this responsibility is generally considered liable for any accidents and injuries that happen as a result.
It is important to understand, however, that Colorado operates under a comparative negligence system.
That means that a person injured in a crash may have the available compensation reduced if he or she is found partly to blame for the collision or the injuries. As long as the person is found to be no more than 50% responsible for the accident, his or her compensation will simply be reduced based on proportionate fault.
It is vital that anyone injured in a crash seek the advice of a seasoned Denver personal injury lawyer in order to understand your rights and explore your options for maximizing your compensation.
Speak With a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.
Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.