Man expected to plead guilty to vehicular homicide
Steamboat Springs — A 19-year-old Denver man is expected to plead guilty to charges in March stemming from an alleged alcohol-related accident that killed his best friend last summer.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mario Lintz through his attorney, Kristopher Hammond, waived a preliminary hearing in Routt County Court.
“We have reached a disposition in this case,” Hammond said to Judge James Garrecht.
Lintz, who did not appear in court for Tuesday’s proceeding, has been charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, which are felonies.
He also faces misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and driving with a suspended license.
Lintz allegedly lost control of a vehicle in the early morning hours of July 1.
John Campbell, 19, of Denver, was killed in the accident that occurred on County Road 62 in North Routt County. According to court records, Campbell, Lintz’s best friend, died after he was ejected from a 1995 Toyota Celica
The car went off the side of the road and flipped onto its roof, court records show.
Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene. Lintz, who is suspected of being drunk, and the vehicle’s owner, Leslie Gibson, 19, of Steamboat Springs, were injured and taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center.
A fourth person in the car, 19-year-old Zachary Wurtzebach of Denver, escaped with minor scrapes and bruises.
Details of the plea agreement were not available Tuesday but the agreement has to include a guilty plea to a felony because the case has been bound
over into 14th Judicial District Court.
Hammonds said when his client appears before 14th Judicial District Judge Joel S. Thompson at 10:30 a.m. March 1, a guilty plea will be entered.
Since the accident, Hammond has been negotiating a plea agreement with Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
St. James is prosecuting Lintz against the wishes of Campbell’s parents.
After the accident, Bruce Campbell wrote the court a letter requesting his son’s lifelong friend be released and not prosecuted.
According to Campbell’s letter, dated July 2, 2001, Lintz was his son’s “closest friend,” and his family has been friends with Lintz’s parents since the boys were babies.
In the letter, Campbell described Lintz as a “decent, hardworking, bright young man.”
Because of the letter, Garrecht set Lintz’s bond at $5,000 instead of $20,000 in July.
Hammond said at this time his client is working and going to college.
Lintz was arrested when he was released from the medical center July 2. The third-degree assault charge stems from Lintz’s alleged behavior at the hospital.
As a nurse was drawing blood from Lintz’s arm, he allegedly kicked the woman in the stomach, court records show.
The accident occurred when the group decided to go for a drive to the marina and were traveling back to their campsite, court records show.
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