Man arrested on suspicion of fatal July 4 hit-and-run

Preston James Dorris, 36, of Greeley, was arrested in Nebraska July 16

Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler addresses the media during a July 17 press conference at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office substation in Highlands Ranch, accompanied by Sheriff Tony Spurlock. "When someone is involved with someone on a bike, whatever fear sets in, you cannot make it better by fleeing," Brauchler said. "You must stay and own up to the conduct and be there. That is humanity. That is who we are as Coloradans."
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler addresses the media during a July 17 press conference at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office substation in Highlands Ranch, accompanied by Sheriff Tony Spurlock. "When someone is involved with someone on a bike, whatever fear sets in, you cannot make it better by fleeing," Brauchler said. "You must stay and own up to the conduct and be there. That is humanity. That is who we are as Coloradans."
Nick Puckett
Posted

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has announced the arrest of Preston James Dorris, 36, on suspicion of being the motorist who fatally struck cyclist Chuck Vogel in Parker on July 4.

Dorris — who was arrested July 12 near Alliance, Nebraska — faces multiple charges, including leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a felony. He is being held at the Douglas County jail on $275,000 bond. Of that, $25,000 is for a robbery authorities believe he committed about five hours before the suspected hit-and-run.

"Whenever a member of our community has their life cut short by the conduct of another, there must be answers as to why," 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said during a July 17 press conference at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office substation in Highlands Ranch. "The person responsible for that person's untimely death must be held accountable and brought into our system. What I'm proud of here is we've continued to move forward toward that end."

Shortly before 6:30 a.m. July 4, Vogel, 64, was struck by a car on his bike near the Parker Core Knowledge School, at Pine Drive and Centennial Drive. He was taken to Parker Adventist Hospital, where he later died. Vogel was a volunteer with the Parker Task Force and was known to be very active in the community.

On July 5, authorities found the vehicle they believe was used in the collision with Vogel at the Town and Country Townhomes in Parker with the passenger side windshield damaged.

In conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, including Nebraska local authorities, the City of Aurora, Greeley and the Drug Enforcement Administration, investigators were able to find and arrest Dorris. 

Dorris' last known address was in Greeley, according to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock.

Dorris appeared before a judge in Douglas County on July 17. The next court proceeding was scheduled for July 22. 

Dorris faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a Class 3 felony. Prosecutors may also press charges for vehicular homicide, another felony, Brauchler said. 

In connection with a separate incident earlier the morning of July 4, he faces a charge of robbery. No further information was available on the suspected robbery.

Though prosecutors are investigating potential charges of motor vehicle theft as well, Spurlock said the car was not stolen and the owner of the car was an associate of Dorris.

Dorris has been arrested and tried for a range of charges in his hometown of Scottsbluff and the surrounding area. He was convicted three times on charges related to domestic abuse.

Spurlock praised those involved in the investigation for their roles in finding Dorris.

"When you quickly find out the owner of the car wasn't in the car, you now have a number of complicated issues to address, and it really becomes a 'whodunnit?'" Spurlock said. "That is where good police work comes into play... They did a lot of work to try and find anyone who had any information, any video, anything to lead them to the suspect or more information. That's how we got to where we are today. A lot of detectives working the street, talking to people and getting information."

Vogel's family released a statement via the sheriff's office in reaction to the arrest.

In part, the statement reads:

"We are so incredibly grateful to the sheriff's office, the detectives, and all law enforcement entities involved, for finding this man and bringing him in. This begins the long process of seeking justice through our criminal justice process, and our family wants to thank everyone for their work in bringing (Dorris) into custody." 

"We know this is the beginning of this case," the statement later adds, "but our family is committed to being involved at every step, to see justice served for this heinous act — and to ensure this tragedy results in positive changes made for cycling statewide, while honoring Chuck."

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