Sentencing scheduled for January
By Mark Reaman and Katherine Nettles
Crested Butte resident Charles “Chuck” Cliggett was found guilty by a jury on Thursday, November 2 of three counts related to an accident that resulted in the death of local bicyclist 71-year-old Mitch Hoffman. Cliggett was driving south on Highway 135 near Crested Butte South on November 7, 2022 when he struck Hoffman who was on a road bike also heading south.
Jury deliberation started Wednesday afternoon following three days of trial proceedings. The jury reconvened on Thursday morning and deliberated for a total of about six hours before reaching their unanimous verdict, according to Gunnison County court clerks. There was no admission or evidence during the trial that Cliggett was texting or otherwise similarly distracted in the incident.
The 73-year-old Cliggett sat quietly in the courtroom as Judge Deborah Grohs read the verdicts. He was found not guilty of vehicular homicide, but the jury found him guilty of careless driving resulting in death, improperly overtaking a bicycle on the left, and criminally negligent homicide. At the request of the defense attorney, the jury was polled, and all answered that that was what they had voted.
A pre-sentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date set for Monday, January 8, 2024, at 8:30 a.m. in Gunnison County court. Criminally negligent homicide is considered a class 5 felony in Colorado and can be punished by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.