Gary Sheats pleads guilty to DUI that killed nearly full-term baby, then commits suicide?
Last July, Gary Sheats was more than three times over the legal limit for intoxication when he plowed into a vehicle driven by Heather Surovik, a pregnant 27 year old only days away from delivery. She survived the crash, as did her mom and a five year old also in the car, but the baby died.
Now, Sheats has, too, after apparently taking his own life at a Denver motel. Details, photos and a video report from shortly after the original incident below.
According to a CBS4 report from last summer, Sheats plowed into Surovik's vehicle at the intersection of 17th and Pace in Longmont.
The intersection where the crash occurred.
However, Sheats didn't stop to render aid. Instead, he drove to his parents' home, where he was staying while his mobile home was being repaired. But he didn't get away clean. A witness followed him to the location and alerted police, who soon placed him under arrest.
Billy Sheats, Gary's father, subsequently told the station that his son had been in his car at the time of the crash. He added that Sheats "has cancer, Stage 4 Lymphoma, and only has a short time to live."
After Sheats was taken into custody, his previous driving record was discovered -- and it was shocking. The Denver Post reported that he had a "DUI history spanning three decades" and was driving on a suspended license at the time he rammed into Surovik and her loved ones.
This information was contained in a July 15 front-page story about the multiple chances drunk drivers are given in Colorado -- an extensive investigation of which Sheats was the centerpiece. Here's a look at the cover, with a photo of Surovik's at the top:
The home where Sheats was arrested.
Initially, Sheats pleaded not guilty in the crash. But in February, according to the Longmont Times-Call, he pleaded guilty to two counts of felony vehicular assault and driving under the influence.
The sentencing was scheduled for April 6 in Boulder District Court, and Sheats, 53, faced a possible twenty years behind bars. If his father's statements about his health were accurate, he wouldn't have lived long enough to complete the sentence. But that question is now moot, since he was found dead Tuesday in a Denver Motel 6.
The coroner's office has yet to complete its analysis, but officials believe he'll ultimately be found to have killed himself.
A grim end to a terrible series of events. Look below to see a larger version of Sheats's most recent mug shot, followed by the aforementioned CBS4 report.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Video: Erin Jackson, busted in East High hit-and-run, is a teacher and slam poet."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.