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Driver on third DUI who killed Afghanistan vet gets 6-month jail term

By Bradford Betz

A man who received his third drunken-driving conviction in 2014 after killing an active-duty U.S. service member in Colorado two years earlier was sentenced Thursday to 180 days in jail -- roughly six months.

Daniel Barrett Swecker, 47, was driving about 80 miles per hour on Interstate 25 when he struck and killed Nelson Marvin Canada, 24, who had served in Afghanistan, the Denver Post reported.

The impact from Swecker's vehicle launched Canada 124 feet, the report said.

Canada had been a passenger in an SUV, but had gotten out to take the wheel because the driver of the vehicle in which he was traveling was also drunk, the report said. Canada was sober.

After hitting Canada, Swecker fled the scene, and walked a mile to a gas station to call his wife, despite having a cell phone and not calling 911. She drove him back to the scene.

Two hours later, Swecker reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.118, well over the 0.08 level considered intoxication in Colorado.

Court records show Swecker had two previous DUI arrests.

A judge originally sentenced Swecker to six years in prison but he appealed his case and remained free. The appeal allowed for the six-year prison sentence to be reconsidered, a decision criticized by District Attorney George Brauchler.

“I respect the court and the process the court employed, but I respectfully and strongly disagree with the decision," he said in a news release. “He ran over and killed an active-duty soldier, one who had survived a deployment to Afghanistan only to be run over by a repeat drunk driver.”

Swecker was ordered to report to jail March 5. Canada, whose branch of service and military rank were not available, is survived by his wife and daughter. 


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