DA dropping felony charges in deadly crash after 4th of July fireworks in Grand County last year

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. - The District Attorney has decided to drop all of the felony charges against a man accused of driving drunk and hitting a family leaving the Fourth of July fireworks in Grand County last year.

Greg Westley, 50, of Estes Park, was killed. His wife, Debbie Westley, 49, was flown by helicopter to Denver Health Medical Center with serious injuries. Three children were also flown to Denver hospitals. The Westleys five other children were not hurt.

Monday, 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey announced that he will move to dismiss all of the felony charges against driver Lucas Ackerman.

Barkey said his office will still prosecute Ackerman on three remaining counts – driving under the influence and two counts of misdemeanor child abuse, for the defendant’s children who were in the vehicle with him. 

"A prosecutor’s foremost duty is to do justice," Barkey said in a news release sent to 7NEWS. "After consulting closely with law enforcement agencies and the victims, I have concluded that dismissing the felony counts and proceeding only on the misdemeanor counts is what is just in this case."

The crash happened about three miles south of the town of Grand Lake near the Trail Ridge Marina and Bluebird Motel at 10:20 p.m. on July 4, 2013, the Sky Hi News reported. Trail Ridge Marina is on Shadow Mountain Lake.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation records show Ackerman was previously charged with a DUI in 2002. In that case, he was found guilty and required to pay fines, serve 16 days in jail and be on probation for two years.

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