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Man sentenced to 5 years in prison after fatal DUI crash with motorcyclist in Lakewood

 Julia “Julie” Pacheco
Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 18:27:37-04

GOLDEN, Colo. — A 65-year-old man was sentenced to prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and his fourth DUI.

Daniel Howard Short was sentenced to five years in the Department of Corrections by the First Judicial District Court.

On Oct. 4, 2021, just after 9 p.m., Short was driving a gold Lexus southbound on Sheridan Boulevard. Two motorcyclists were driving in front of him, according to the First Judicial District Attorney's Office. Near S. Sheridan Boulevard and W. Yale Avenue in Lakewood, Short struck one of the motorcycles from behind. His vehicle dragged the motorcyclist, who was later identified as 59-year-old Julia “Julie” Pacheco of Centennial, a short distance before stopping, the district attorney's office said. He remained at the scene.

Pacheco was pronounced deceased at a nearby hospital.

Multiple witnesses said Short had been speeding and driving recklessly before the crash, the district attorney's office said. He later told police he had attended a golf tournament earlier that day, where he had been drinking and smoking marijuana. Police found cocaine in his possession.

On April 18, Short pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence (third of subsequent alcohol-related offense). He had three prior DUI convictions from 1977, 1988 and 1993, the district attorney's office said.

“While Mr. Short didn't set out to hurt anyone on Oct. 4, 2021, he made choices that caused the irrevocable tragedy before the Court,” said Deputy District Attorney Riley Gonya. “He drank and drove for the fourth time, he drove recklessly, and he crashed into Julie Pacheco, ending her life. Our hearts are with Ms. Pacheco's friends and family as they continue to grieve her loss. We know that nothing can return what they have lost, but we are honored to give Julie a voice.”

During Short's sentencing on Monday, Pacheco's family described her as a beloved mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. One of them said she would have offered Short a ride home if he had asked her.