A drunk driver with a long history of alcohol offenses was sentenced to 24 years in prison Friday for a chase, crash and fire in Castle Rock.
Garrett Neugebauer, of southern Colorado, was arrested last February with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.
He led police on a chase on Interstate 25 going more than 100 mph, crashed into a car injuring two young men and kept going. After his tire was blown out by police stop sticks, his car then sparked a grass fire the size of two football fields near Tomah Road and I-25.
Neugebauer ran out and resisted arrest. He had to be shocked with a Taser before he was taken into custody.
Prosecutors said it was Neugebauer's fifth DUI arrest and at the time, he was on probation in Larimer County and wanted in Otero County, both for alcohol-related offenses.
Neugebauer was tearful as he appeared in court Friday and apologized to the crash victims, law enforcement, drivers on I-25 and his family.
"The prosecutor's right. I've had a long history of alcohol abuse," Neugebauer said. "I have had treatment. I'm an intelligent person, but I never took it seriously. I always felt I paid my fines, I paid my dues and nobody was hurt. I hurt people here and I have to live with that for the rest of my life. And I'm very sorry for that. I look back now, and I could’ve hurt a lot of people those other times. I thank God that I didn’t."
He realizes he cannot responsibly drink alcohol, and said he's been committed to treatment during the 11 months he's spent in jail.
Neugebauer was facing between 10 and 32 years in prison after being convicted on 6 counts, including three felony charges relating to the chase and crash.
Chris Gallo, a Douglas County prosecutor on the case, said he's satisfied with the 24-year sentence.
"Honestly, it’s the biggest sentence that I can remember for a case (where) nobody was seriously injured, had serious bodily injury or was killed," Gallo said.