Man sentenced to 10 years in prison after crashing truck into Colorado Springs home, pinning resident inside
A repeat felon who crashed his Ford F350 into a Colorado Springs home and then took off running - ignoring an injured resident's calls for help - was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison.
Tyler Lee Blackard, 37, apologized before a judge pronounced his penalty, saying that he has epilepsy and shouldn't have been driving when he lost control of his truck March 20, 2016, and plowed into a home in the 600 block of South Hancock Avenue.
Whether he was also under the influence of drugs or alcohol may never be known. Blackard wasn't found until several days later, when he was arrested in Illinois.
Blackard pleaded guilty last year to leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury. A man was thrown from his living room couch and ultimately pinned between the truck and a piece of furniture, authorities say.
The victim suffered broken bones, underwent several surgeries and had to have a finger amputated, prosecutors say.
The sentence came roughly three months after Blackard failed to appear at a previous sentencing hearing.
Blackard said in court that he tried to overdose on Percocet that day, after deciding that killing himself would provide more justice than a prison sentence.
His court-appointed lawyer, public defender Shantrice Anderson, called him "the most remorseful client I've ever had," saying Blackard has wept every time the two met to discuss the case. She submitted a letter to the court that Blackard wrote for the victims.
One of the home's residents, Anjelica Ortiz, previously described a chaotic scene as she heard a crash before finding a vehicle inside her house where her husband had been.
"My husband started hollering and I just couldn't find him...once I opened the door, he was right there, squished between the entertainment center and the car," she told Gazette news partner KKTV.
Ortiz said Blackard left the truck in "drive," preventing her husband from being able to escape.
Blackard faced between six and 12 years in prison. Fourth Judicial District Judge Robert Lowery declined to sentence him in the aggravated range based on his failure to appear at his previous sentencing date, ruling that a suicide attempt "is something different" from an effort to hide from accountability.