Driver who killed Denver Post reporter Colleen O’Connor pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

The 23-year-old motorist who struck and killed Denver Post reporter Colleen O’Connor last summer faces prison time after he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide-reckless driving, and driving under the influence, according to the Denver District Attorney’s office.

It is possible Jesus Carreno will get probation. If a judge grants it, he would still spend “at least” 126 days in prison, per his plea agreement, the DA’s office said in a statement. He could face as many as six years behind bars.

Carenno, JesusCarreno hit and killed O’Connor with his car in August near the corner of East First Avenue and South Downing Street in Denver. O’Connor was 60 years old. She worked at The Denver Post as a reporter since 2004.

O’Connor “brought to work that same empathy she brought to the stories she chose,” said Denver Post editor Lee Ann Colacioppo in an obituary in the paper. “She would gravitate to those who were struggling, where equality was an issue. She was so interested in what people were going through and how they got there.” The Post also touted O’Connor as “a model of adaptability in a rapidly changing industry.”

A judge is scheduled to sentence Carreno on March 3 at 1:30 p.m.

Carreno “also agreed to write a letter of apology to O’Connor’s family and friends and to participate in a restorative justice compact in which he would meet face to face with the reporter’s family and friends, according to court testimony,” The Denver Post reported today. “Carreno also would participate in public service, and his defense attorney suggested he speak to various groups about the incident.”

He could also face fines.

Photo by tgabby1 for Creative Commons on Flickr.