Jan 192009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Daniel Price, a 21-year-old Fort Collins man who struck with his vehicle and killed CSU adviser Rebecca Allen in July, was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday.

Additionally, Price will serve five years on parole followed by two years probation and 80 hours of community service, 50 of which he is mandated to serve with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. These penalties were part of an earlier plea agreement.

Over 80 people crowded into the courtroom to witness the sentencing.

“I know that I have to go to prison. I gladly accept that .” Price said, looking back at Allen’s family and friends for a brief moment. “I’m sorry . I can’t say anything else.”

Allen’s husband, Greg, who spoke at the sentencing, turned to Price and said after some time, “Mr. Price, my life is shattered . she not only brought out the best in me, she was my everything .”

Waiting for Allen’s mother, father and brother outside of the district attorney’s office after the sentencing, four of Allen’s family members said they were glad the case was finally over.

A group of Price’s friends gathered on a bench outside the courtroom, including long-time friend Keith Jones, declined comment.

Three people spoke on behalf of Price, including Jones and his mother Dolores Price.

“My heart aches for them,” Dolores Price said during the hearing of Allen’s friends and family who crowded together around Allen’s husband, father, brother Jon Gumptow and mother Maris Gumptow in the front row.

“Every night I pray that Mr. Allen will one day forgive Daniel,” Dolores Price said of the tragedy. “. I pray that Mr. Allen will one day see the grief in our hearts.”

Jones, who has been friends with Price since seventh-grade and continued their friendship after the two graduated from Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, told the judge that Price has always been “a good guy.” Jones said Price didn’t want his friends and family to submit letters testifying in his favor to District Court Judge Jolene Blair presiding over the case.

Garvey, who sustained serious injuries in the accident, spoke for Allen and passed out Safe Way Home cards with information about drinking and driving.

“My challenge to everyone in the courthouse today is to never get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence,” Garvey said over tears. ” . And I wonder if you can do it.”

At one point, members of the Allen family were surprised and outraged to learn that Price had “R. Allen” tattooed across his wrist and asked Price to have it removed if he was truly remorseful.

Price, however, addressed the family directly during his statement, saying, “It’s not only a reminder to hold myself accountable but to keep myself true and make sure I would always do the right thing.”

The end to this case comes after it began in the early hours on July 22, when Price drove drunk on West Drake Road and hit both Allen, 32, and her friend Garvey on their bikes from behind.

Allen was taken to Poudre Valley Hospital where she later died from her injuries. Garvey, who sustained serious injuries, was taken to the Medical Center of the Rockies.

Reports showed that both riders took every safety precaution: Both wore helmets, reflective riding gear and rode in the right lane with lights on their bikes.

After her death, Allen’s friends and family organized a special bike-in movie showing at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins in September. About 1,000 people attended the bike-in to honor Allen’s life and love of biking and the environment.

As an additional remembrance, the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication aims to raise $5,000 to build a sculpture for Allen, which will be erected outside the C-wing of the Clark building at CSU.

On Nov. 14, Price pled guilty to vehicular homicide and careless driving in a plea agreement. Joseph Gavaldon, Price’s private criminal defense attorney and the DA agreed to the terms of sentence.

Tim Roy, Deputy District Attorney for Larimer County said that at a date, which has not yet been determined, Price will be eligible to go before a parole board that determines whether he will serve the full 8-year sentence.

To determine which prison within the Colorado Department of Corrections he will serve, Price will be sent to a screening facility later this month. There are about 30 facilities within the department across the state.

In his address to the court, Price asked Judge Blair if he could face the Allen family to apologize, and after he was denied his request, continued to glance over his shoulder as he apologized.

At the end of his statement, Price said quietly, “I would do anything to give my life to give hers back.”

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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