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Kenneth Hosch, 83, pleads guilty to vehicular homicide, jail time expected

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Earlier this year, we told you about the arrest of Kenneth Hosch, age 83, after a crash that killed Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Dave Baldwin, who was on routine motorcycle patrol at the time.

Now, Hosch has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide -- and the district attorney prosecuting the case thinks that some jail time in the incident would be appropriate.

Just after 10 a.m. on January 26, as we've reported, Hosch, a resident of Golden, was driving southbound on Highway 93 in the vicinity of 68th Avenue -- and doing so as what court records characterize as a high rate of speed.

Around that time, Hosch is said to have zoomed up behind a car traveling more slowly than his, then passed it in an "aggressive manner," albeit in a spot where the yellow center line is dashed -- meaning the maneuver was presumably legal.

Problem is, investigators believe Hosch didn't return to his lane after passing the other car. Instead, he allegedly stayed to the left of the yellow line for around 1,500 feet. Witnesses said this route took him well into a no-passing zone marked by double-yellow center lines.

An instant later, Hosch's car smashed into Baldwin, who was traveling northbound as part of his on-duty patrol of the area.

The speed at which Hosch's vehicle was traveling is estimated at between 70 and 79 miles per hour. The speed limit for most of Highway 93 tops out at 55.

Baldwin died as a result of his injuries.

Afterward, Hosch, who was wearing a seat belt and suffered only minor injuries, reportedly claimed that he'd been in the proper lane and Baldwin had drifted into his path. But skid marks told a different story.

Weeks later, authorities arrested Hosch on suspicion of vehicular homicide and criminally negligent homicide -- the most serious driving-related charges leveled against him to date, but hardly the only ones. Here's a chronological roster of his citations over the past nine years as assembled by 7News:

• 2005: Issued a summons for traveling at 64 MPH in a 45 zone.

• 2007: Issued a summons for traveling 65 MPH in a 40 zone -- a citation he plea-bargained down to a failure-to-signal offense.

• 2009: Issued a summons for traveling 72 MPH in a 55 zone.

• 2010: Issued a summons for traveling 57 MPH in a 45 zone and cited in a separate matter for rear-ending another vehicle. Both incidents took place on Highway 93.

• 2012: Issued a summons for traveling 52 MPH in a 35 zone.

• 2013: Issued a summons for rear-ending a trailer on Highway 93.

Yesterday, Hosch pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide under the theory of recklessness, according to First Judicial District DA's office spokeswoman Pam Russell. Via e-mail, she explains that a count of criminally negligent homicide prosecutors dismissed represented an alternative theory for Baldwin's death. If Hosch had been convicted on both counts, the sentences would have merged, she notes, so the dropping of the charge represents a dismissal of that alternative theory as opposed to an additional felony.

In any event, Hosch faces punishment from three months to six years behind bars for the offense, and First Judicial District DA tells 7News, "At this time, some incarceration is appropriate. To what extent and manner remains to be seen."

Meanwhile, Baldwin's widow, Crystal, hopes what happened, and Hosch's sentence, which will be announced in August, will convince families to talk about when they should take the keys from an elderly driver. In an interview with the station, she says, "If you think they're unsafe, you need to take steps to prevent them from driving."

Look below to see Hosch's booking photo, followed by the latest 7News report.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa February 25: "Photos: Kenneth Hosch, 83, busted in crash that killed Sergeant Dave Baldwin."

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