Man Admits to DUI Causing Serious Injury
A man accused of drunken driving and causing a crash that resulted in his passenger losing an arm pleaded guilty to a felony charge Wednesday in Albany County District Court.
Connor Huffman, 21, admitted to driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a misdemeanor reckless driving charge and recommend boot camp at sentencing. The plea deal included no recommendation as to the length of Huffman’s sentence.
Huffman could spend up to 10 years in prison and pay a $5,000 fine. Judge Jeffrey Donnell left open the possibility of ordering Huffman to pay restitution, but attorneys said restitution would likely be handled through pending civil litigation.
A sentencing date will be set pending completion of the presentence investigation.
According to court documents, the passenger told police he believed Huffman was drinking before the Nov. 26 wreck. An officer of the Wheatland Police Department said Huffman was seen driving erratically, or “hot dogging,” in a parking lot that evening.
An Albany County Sheriff’s deputy responded to an accident on Halleck Ranch Road at 6:10 p.m., according to the affidavit, and found Huffman’s red Chevrolet pickup had hit a tree. Empty beer cans and a nearly-empty whiskey bottle were reportedly found inside the truck, and Huffman’s blood-alcohol content was .143 according to a breathalyzer test administered over three hours later.
Prosecutor Kurt Britzius said Wednesday that when Huffman’s vehicle struck the tree, a branch broke through the windshield and struck the passenger in the right shoulder. The passenger was treated at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for a broken upper arm and a right shoulder fracture. Doctors had to amputate one of the passenger's arms.
“How long and for how many times have you heard media advertising don’t drive drunk?” Donnell asked Huffman in court Wednesday. “Did you give that one second’s thought before you got into that truck?”
“I didn’t feel like I was as impaired as I was,” said Huffman.
“[The victim] is going to spend the rest of his life with one arm because of your decision,” said Donnell.