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Denver man faces felony charges in fatal U.S 285 accident

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By Deborah Swearingen

Charges have been filed against a Denver man accused of causing an Aug. 28 crash on U.S. 285 that killed a 53-year-old motorcyclist.  

Ian Fitzgerald O’Connor, 32, is facing felony charges of leaving the scene with death, vehicular homicide and reckless vehicular homicide, as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence and several traffic infractions, including reckless driving, no proof of insurance, fictitious plates and more. The charges were filed by the Jeffco DA's office.

The Colorado State Patrol received a call about the accident around 11:07 p.m. on Aug. 28 and sent an officer to the scene, according to Trooper Josh Lewis. CSP Officer Crystal Crenshaw learned the crash, which involved a 2002 Mazda Protégé and a 1980 custom-built motorcycle, was fatal while on the way, according to the arrest affidavit.

“Witnesses on scene said the light-colored sedan was driving recklessly before hitting the motorcycle and didn’t seem like it was going to stop after hitting the motorcycle,” the affidavit reads.

O’Connor and motorcyclist Paul Dacko of Wheat Ridge both were driving north on U.S. 285 near C-470. Trooper Lewis said O’Connor was in the left lane and Dacko was in the right. O’Connor passed another vehicle and ended up changing lanes, colliding with Dacko’s motorcycle and hitting a concrete barrier. Dacko was ejected from his motorcycle and pronounced dead on scene.

After the Mazda struck the motorcycle, it continued to drive approximately 400 feet while pushing the motorcycle underneath the car. O’Connor then fled from the scene and was found later at the Phillips 66 gas station in Morrison. Officials from the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office, West Metro Fire Rescue and the Lakewood Police Department helped to restrain O’Connor.

“There was a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage coming from O’Connor. … He also appeared to be very agitated, possibly under the influence of some other type of drug,” the arrest affidavit reads.

The suspect was later transported to St. Anthony Hospital with minor injuries and then arrested on Aug. 29. He posted $100,000 bond on Aug. 30 and will next appear in court for an Oct. 6 preliminary hearing.

Dacko’s son – also named Paul Dacko – has set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for funeral expenses. According to the GoFundMe, his son also was riding on U.S. 285 at the time of the accident.  

“Before I could turn around, he had been ripped away,” his son wrote.

Although the viewing and ceremony were held the first weekend in September, the fund is still open and accepting donations. As of Friday, $2,720 had been raised. To contribute, visit www.gofundme.com/funeral-for-paul-dacko.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.