Driver who was high when he killed motorcyclist gets 8 years in prison

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — A Douglas County district court judge sentenced a man who was high on drugs when he “plowed” into a motorcyclist to eight years in prison.

According to a media statement released Wednesday, 30-year-old Manuel Enrique Frias was high on oxycontin and had meth in his car when he hit 56-year-old Tom Neubert who was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle to work from his home in Parker on Aug. 19, 2019.

Tom Neubert. Photo: Douglas County District Attorney’s Office

The accident happened in the intersection of North Piney Lake Road and East County Line Road in Douglas County. According to the media statement, Frias got out of his car and watched as a passersby stopped to try to help Neubert. Then, Frias slipped away into the surrounding Blackstone neighborhood. Frias was later apprehended.

Neubert, who died, had six siblings, including a twin brother. He was married with two children and three step-children. So many friends and family members wanted to offer impact statements on Jan. 22 that the sentencing hearing lasted more than five hours, according to the media statement.

They spoke about Neubert’s “strong Christian faith, his generous and unselfish nature and his Model T Ford. They talked about his infectious spirit and his Oktoberfest celebrations.”

“Tom was a special person. He was unassuming, always encouraging, always helpful, always kind, and quick to smile. He was interested in cars, motorcycles, and anything mechanical. He was a skilled mechanic and well known as the guy who could fix anything,” one family member said in court. “Tom’s death has left a gaping hole in our lives. It is a huge loss and (Frias) alone is responsible for it. He decided to get high and to get behind the wheel and drive. There has to be a cost for his reckless actions. He made decisions that took an innocent life.

“And as Tom lay splattered on the pavement, (Frias) decided to run.”

Frias pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2020, to one count of vehicular homicide DUI and one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving death. Other counts were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Both charges are third-class felonies, and there is no mandatory prison time for either.

“This death was entirely preventable. If the defendant did not choose to take illegal drugs and then get behind the wheel, Mr. Neubert would be alive today, supporting his family and contributing to our community,” said District Attorney Dan Warhola. “For the defendant to also flee the scene compounds the criminal acts he committed that morning.”

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