Suspect in 2017 fatal accident deemed fit to continue

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By Deborah Swearingen

The man accused of causing an August 2017 crash that killed a 53-year-old motorcyclist was deemed mentally competent and will return to court in February for a motions hearing.

Ian Fitzgerald O’Connor, 32, pleaded not guilty in April to 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.

He was scheduled to have a two-day jury trial beginning Sept. 11 but instead came before the court Friday for a review hearing. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the judge and attorneys found O’Connor competent to proceed after reviewing reports from the Department of Human Services following his outpatient evaluation. His motions hearing is scheduled to begin Feb. 19.

O’Connor was arrested Aug. 29, 2017, in connection with the death of Wheat Ridge resident Paul Dacko, who was riding north on U.S. 285 near the C-470 overpass when O’Connor’s car reportedly collided with Dacko’s motorcycle. Dacko was pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant is accused of running from the scene at the accident, which occurred just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 28. He was later found at the Phillips 66 gas station in Morrison.

A blood draw at the hospital confirmed O’Connor’s blood-alcohol content was 0.21 percent, well over Colorado’s legal limit of 0.08 percent. He also had 6.1 nanograms of THC, the active component in marijuana, in his system. The defendant was booked into the Jeffco jail on Aug. 29 and posted $100,000 bond the following day. Despite posting bond, O’Connor currently is in custody due to new charges being filed.