Father of boy killed in 2008 Aurora DUI crash says 'Nothing has changed'

Lawmaker promotes mandatory prison sentence bill

AURORA, Colo. - The father of a 3-year old boy who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008 says, “Nothing has changed.”

Marat Kudlis told 7NEWS that he extends his condolences to the family of Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino, a 17-year old who was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver Monday night.

The circumstances of that crash are eerily similar to the one that claimed Kudlis’ son Marten in September 2008.

Kudlis and his mother were eating ice cream at the Baskin Robbins shop at 1155 South Havana Street in Aurora.

Francis Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant who was driving without a license, slammed into a pickup truck with two women inside. Both women, Debra Serecky and Patricia Guntharp died. Their pickup then careened into the ice cream store, killing the young Kudlis.

Investigators say Hernandez was traveling 80 miles per hour when he struck the pickup.

He was eventually sentenced to 60 years in prison for the crash.

On Monday, Dominguez-Palomino was southbound on Dayton turning east onto Colfax when Ever Olivas-Gutierrez allegedly ran a red light and slammed into the victim’s Camaro.

Authorities say Oivas-Gutierrez was in the country illegally, was driving drunk without a license and at an estimated 80 miles per hour when he hit the 17-year old's car.

“Here we are again,” said Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Douglas County, “almost the same circumstances. Someone driving 80 miles per hour rams into an innocent person and kills them.”

Lawrence says she wants to make people think twice before they drive drunk. She is sponsoring legislation that would set mandatory minimum prison sentences for vehicular assault and vehicular homicide convictions.

When asked if her proposal will actually prevent DUI accidents, Lawrence replied, “I think it will send a strong message and hopefully works as a strong deterrent to keep them out of cars after drinking or doing drugs.”

The lawmaker acknowledges that it would not keep everyone from driving after drinking, but says it will stop some and will prevent some accidents.

In addition to mandatory time behind bars, her bill would remove probation and suspended sentences as sentencing options.

Her proposal now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

Kudlis says something needs to be done.

“It’s a shame nothing has changed since my son was killed,” he said.

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