DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado Springs man pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide DUI after killing his son in a crash on Feb. 20. The same man was arrested on a DUI charge in November while he was out on bond.
Christopher Small was sentenced on Dec. 19 to 18 years in prison for driving drunk and high in a single-vehicle crash that killed his 4-year-old son Lucca.
“My baby did not die: He was killed,” Lucca’s mother, Ashley Whittemore, told the court in a victim impact statement during sentencing. "[Lucca] laid in the snow with a broken neck, a swollen brain and a stopped heart.”
“To this court, what is most devastating is … he made a decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car and consciously made a decision to alter previously set plans and go and pick up his children,” Douglas County District Court Judge Shay Whittaker said. “What is even more horrifying is that it could have been worse – he was on his way to pick up his daughter."
“There are no words to capture the magnitude of this loss. A father’s selfish and reckless decision leads to the death of his innocent 4-year-old son,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “Coloradans should know that he will be eligible to be paroled from prison in only 5-6 years, but he will likely never be paroled from the knowledge that he killed his sweet boy. Like Lucca’s death, those nightmares are forever.”
Small was handed the sentence as part of a plea agreement.
Small reportedly got off work the day of the crash and arranged with his ex-wife to pick up his son and daughter from daycare and school in Woodland Park. He told investigators he had two shots of Fireball whiskey in Limon. Evidence shows he was drinking after that too.
He picked up Lucca in his 2012 Lexus RX350. For some reason he was on Colorado 67 in Douglas County when he lost control on a curve. Lucca, who was in a booster seat in the back, was killed.
Evidence indicated Small was driving 75 mph on the road with a 50 mph speed limit. The road was dry, and conditions were sunny just before 3 p.m. There was no indication that Small ever touched his brakes before the car went off the road.
A blood-alcohol test four hours after the crash came back at 0.098. A lab would have testified that Small was at minimum 0.19 at the time of the crash. The tests also showed 3.5 nanograms of THC.
Small’s prison sentence will be followed by five years of mandatory parole.