Denver man facing new charges in fatal crash

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By Deborah Swearingen

The initial case against a Denver man accused of causing an Aug. 28 crash on U.S. 285 that killed a 53-year-old motorcyclist has been dismissed, but new charges have been filed, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.

Ian Fitzgerald O’Connor, 32, previously was facing various felony charges, including leaving the scene involving death and vehicular homicide. He appeared in Jeffco court on Friday and will return for a continued preliminary hearing on Dec. 22.

DA’s spokeswoman Pam Russell said the new case includes a charge of first-degree murder under the theory of extreme indifference.

“This is an ongoing situation,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s additional evidence that this was based on or if this was just a follow up.”

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 that 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 the scene.

After the Mazda struck the motorcycle, O’Connor 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.

Russell called the crime scene “very complex” and said Colorado State Patrol is asking for an accident reconstruction.

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