^
Keep Westword Free
4
| Crime |

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.

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:

Continue for more about Gary Sheats, including more photos and a video. 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.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

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."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.