Man pleads guilty in death of Englewood officer

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Conner Donohue, 21, accused in the hit-and-run death of an Englewood police officer, pleaded guilty Feb. 22 to four felony charges and a misdemeanor charge arising from the 2012 incident.

The suspect was in court Feb. 20 for a status hearing. At that time, a plea agreement was reached. The judge delayed the hearing where Donohue entered his plea until Feb. 22 so the family of the officer, Jeremy Bitner, could attend. Bitner’s wife, Tina, was in court, as were a number of members of the Englewood Police Department.

Donohue is scheduled for sentencing May 31, a year and three days after the May 28, 2012, crash.

The 12 charges filed against Donohue stem from an incident on Broadway south of Belleview Avenue. The hit-and-run resulted in the death of Bitner, an Englewood police officer who was posthumously promoted to detective, and caused injuries to a motorist whom Bitner had pulled over.

Donohue pleaded guilty to felony charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily and leaving the scene of an accident causing death. He also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

George Brauchler, district attorney of the 18th Judicial District, said after the court session that Donohue did accept responsibility for his actions. He also said Donohue was accepting responsibility for the sentencing the court will hand down.

Englewood Police Chief John Collins said his department will make no comments about Donohue or the case pending the sentencing.

Information that came out at the preliminary hearing showed Donohue had apparently consumed two beers, two shots of vodka, a shot of schnapps and a rum-and-coke mixed drink before getting behind the wheel.

Just after midnight, Bitner had pulled over a car for a traffic violation. While he was talking to that driver, Donohue’s car reportedly hit the two men. Bitner died of his injuries and Littleton resident Kevin Montoya was seriously injured.

Donohue allegedly sped away from the scene but was stopped about three miles south by Littleton Police. He allegedly admitted being a “little inebriated” but, according to court testimony, his blood alcohol level was 0.252 percent, more than three times the threshold for being charged with driving under the influence.

Reportedly, the suspect told police at the time of his arrest that he thought he had only sideswiped a car. The report said, when told he had hit the two men, Donohue put his heads in his hands.

In his comments after the Feb. 23 court session, Brauchler noted Donohue had lived a life free of crime up to the time of the crash. Before his arrest, the Rangeview High School graduate was working at King Soopers and attending classes at Metropolitan State University. He had no criminal record.

Donohue is free on bond pending sentencing.

Conner Donohue, accused in the hit-and-run death of an Englewood police officer, pleaded guilty Feb. 22 to four felony charges and a misdemeanor charge arising from the 2012 incident.

Donohue is scheduled for sentencing May 3.

He appeared in 18th Judicial Court Feb. 22 for a status hearing and entered the pleas. The charges stem from an incident last May 28 on Broadway south of Belleview Avenue, which resulted in the death of Jeremy Bitner, an Englewood police officer who was posthumously promoted to detective, and caused injuries to a motorist whom Bitner had pulled over.

Donohue pleaded guilty to felony charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily and leaving the scene of an accident causing death. He also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Bitner had pulled over a car for a traffic violation. While he was talking to that driver, Donohue’s car reportedly veered into the right lane and hit the two men. Bitner died of his injuries and Littleton resident Kevin Montoya was seriously injured.

Donohue allegedly sped away from the scene but was stopped about three miles south by Littleton Police. He allegedly admitted being a “little inebriated” but, according to court testimony, his blood alcohol level was 0.252 percent, more than three times the threshold for being charged with driving under the influence.

At the time of the crash, the Rangeview High School graduate was working at King Soopers and attending classes at Metropolitan State University. He had no criminal record.

He has been held at Arapahoe County Jail since he was arrested.