DENVER — The man accused of running over an Englewood police officer and killing him in 2012 plead guilty to the crime Friday morning.
Conner Donohue pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injuries and driving under the influence.
He will be sentenced May 3.
District Attorney George Brauchler said Donohue faces up to 36 years in prison. Although none of the charges require mandatory prison sentences, Brauchler said it’s very unlikely Donohue will be let off with just probation.
“This is a case that cries out for incarceration,” he said.
Police said he was drunk when he hit and killed Officer Jeremy Bitner near the intersection of West Belleview Avenue and South Broadway in May last year.
Bitner had pulled over a gray Ford Mustang and was talking to the driver of the Mustang when Donohue’s white Nissan SUV veered into the opposite lanes of traffic and hit both of them.
Bitner died in a hospital after the crash. The other driver, Kevin Montoya, survived.
Donohue, then 20, left the scene but was pulled over about four miles away by Littleton police.
Bitner, 39, was a U.S. Army veteran and a seven-year veteran of the Englewood Police force.
Hundreds of police officers from around the state attended his funeral in June.
After the hearing, Brauchler commended Donohue’s decision to take responsibility for the crime and plead guilty.
“In a criminal justice system where we see a lot of people resist responsibility all the way to the bitter end, you watched him come in and stand up before the court and in the public and say he did this thing,” Brauchler said.
He also added that he hoped the case would raise awareness about driving under the influence.
“Remember Officer Bitner was in the process of investigating a DUI case when he was struck and killed by a drunk Donohue,” Brauchler said.