Former CU student given four-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide
May 19, 2017
Steamboat Springs — When sentencing 23-year-old Keyan Pesaran to four years in prison, District Court Judge Shelley Hill was sending a strong message to the community that such conduct will not be tolerated.
"It goes without saying that these types of sentences are the most difficult for this court," Hill said.
The sentence was handed down despite victims and family members not wanting Pesaran to see prison.
Pesaran was a University of Colorado student visiting Steamboat Springs for a ski trip when he crashed his car, killing 21-year-old passenger Nicole Weber.
The crash occurred Dec. 6, 2015, on U.S. Highway 40 just west of Steamboat Springs.
It is believed Pesaran fell asleep while driving. He drove his Jeep off the road, and it rolled two times.
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Weber, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
According to an arrest affidavit, Pesaran had only slept three or four hours the previous night.
A drug test showed Pesaran had cocaine and anti-anxiety medications in his system, as well as cannabis in the amount of 8.3 nanograms per milliliter blood.
"That is well above the statutory five-nanogram limit," Hill said.
Pesaran was charged with two counts of felony vehicular homicide and two counts of felony vehicular assault.
As part of a plea deal, Pesaran pleaded guilty to one count of each.
Pesaran cried throughout Friday's sentencing hearing.
Hill was shown pictures of Weber, and Weber's mother, Julie Weber, spoke for 30 minutes, focusing on her daughter's life.
Julie Weber said her daughter was a strong-willed, generous woman who as a child begged daily to get a horse.
She also overcame obstacles to succeed in school but was a modest person who refused to accept an award from her school recognizing her academic accomplishments.
Julie Weber said that now one of her most cherished belongings is a bedazzled Bible that she found in her daughter's dorm room.
"I'm a better person for being her mom, and you know I only had her for 22 years … and I'm just going to have to be grateful for those 22 years, and I am," Julie Weber said.
Weber's father, Scott Weber, spoke more directly to Pesaran, but he did not want him incarcerated because of the impact it would have on Pesaran's family.
"Understand that you took away from us forever," Scott Weber said.
Crash survivor Shannon Cook was the other passenger.
She said the hardest part was knowing that she lost her friend.
"She would light up any room with her energy and 1,000-watt smile," Cook said.
Pesaran was represented by Steamboat attorney Larry Combs.
Combs urged the judge to consider sentencing Pesaran to 180 days in jail, at least seven years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. If that occurred, Pesaran would then contribute $25,000 to create a scholarship in Weber's name.
"All these tears have to result in something good and positive," Combs said.
Before handing down the sentence, Pesaran addressed the court.
Pesaran said he was so ashamed that he could not find the courage to face Weber's mother.
"I do not deserve their forgiveness, and I cannot forgive myself," Pesaran said. “It feels I am lost with no path to follow.”