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Chris Booker gets 6 yrs for running over officer

Posted at 10:01 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-05 00:01:53-05

The man who struck and critically injured a Denver police officer during a student protest last year was sentenced to six years in Community Corrections, an official with the Denver District Attorney's office said Friday. 

Christopher Booker pleaded guilty to vehicular assault and attempting to influence a public servant as part of a plea bargain back in October. 

Booker's black Mercedes hit four bicycle officers on Dec. 3. Officer John Adsit, a 9-year-veteran of the department, was critically injured and needed more than a dozen surgeries.

"Booker lost control of his motor vehicle, accelerating from a stop, striking the bike officers, causing serious and bodily injury to several," DPD wrote in a statement.

Booker was not initially arrested because, at the time, Denver Police Chief Robert White said preliminary indications were that the crash was due to a medical condition.

However, Booker was charged three months later. The probable cause affidavit revealed that the officer who pulled Booker from his damaged car recognized the signs of a seizure and that Booker told investigators that he took medication for seizures. 

Police checked with Booker's doctors and confirmed he had the condition for several years, but had never disclosed the condition on his applications for a driver license from the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. 

"It's our allegation that he was aware of his medical condition," said Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. "When you go to the DMV and you re-up for your driver's license you have to answer certain questions about your physical condition and it’s our position that he did not tell the truth about his medical condition on nine separate dates."

The protest by East High School students that day was to show solidarity with the people protesting police killing black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

Lynn Kimbrough, Denver DA spokesperson, told Denver7 the sentencing into Community Corrections will be determined by a board for the facility. If the board doesn't accept Booker, then there will be another sentencing to decide what will happen to Booker. 

"I feel like a stronger message would have been a department of corrections sentence, and that was what I was after," said Deputy District attorney Doug Jackson, who said every doctor he talked to said Booker had been warned not to drive. "I thought the judge was very clear that probation is not an appropriate sentence for this type of behavior. I was very happy to hear that."

Still, Booker's defense attorney said his client was not officially diagnosed before the accident and did not realize the risk his seizures posed.

"It has bothered him. It has haunted him for these many months," said Defense Attorney Giancarlo Small. "He continues to pray for the officers and all of their recoveries."

Although Booker said in court he has no plans to drive, officers are concerned that he will, based on a doctor's note that came out in court saying that he could under new medication.

"Mr. Booker showed a history of disregarding advice and was driving when he shouldn't have been," said Sgt. Michael Farr with Denver Police. "It's a public safety concern."

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