Here is the letter that my mom wrote to the Judge, who is going to sentence Mark Nigon on Dec 18!!!
500 Jefferson County Parkway
Judge: Christopher Munch
Prosecutor: Timothy Lane
Case # 30 06CR02289
On July 2nd, 2006 at 2am my phone rang. I knew it might not be good news but what I was about to hear, I could hardly believe. My 28 year old son (Justin) and his new wife of less than four months (Julie) were driving home and they saw lights flashing. They realized something wasn't right and before they had time to react they were hit broadside in their Jeep by a drunk driver being pursued at a high rate of speed by the police. Julie had swerved just in time to avoid a head on collision. Justin being the passenger was pinned in with extensive injuries. It had taken over an hour for him to be cut out of the Jeep. I was told he was in surgery and Julie didn't know how long he would be in there. Julie was confused as to what she should do, and was trying not to upset anyone. My conversation with Julie was to inquire about her injuries while Justin was being tended to. Julie had refused medical treatment because as a patient she would not be able to be with her husband. Julie was in complete emotional distress. She wasn't sure of what she should do. I called the emergency room to inquire about Justin and the words spoken to me by the nurse were "If he were my son I would get here".
I immediately purchased a ticket and flew from CA to CO and arrived at 8:30 that evening. I arrived at the hospital and walked into the ICU to see my son. I looked at him and fell apart. Justin was hooked up to many monitoring devices. So many you had to be careful where you walked. He was on the highest forms of pain killers. He was on oxycontin, synthetic morphine and liquid vicoden. He had six hours of surgery on one leg only and the Orthopedic felt he had been in surgery to long and it could become to risky to do anymore. He was dripping blood all over the floor and I felt he probably would not make it until the morning. I sat with him all night long and fed him Jell-O, gave him water to drink, rubbed his arm and held his hand. I didn't know when his last breath would be. I would tell him stories and tell him how much I loved him.
After two days in ICU Justin was moved to the trauma floor unit. He laid there for three days waiting for a pelvic specialist to do surgery on his pelvis to stabilize it. Each and every move caused severe pain. The pain was so intense that anxiety would set in. One night I was holding his hand when his heart stopped, his eyes rolled back in his head and his body dropped lifeless. I had lost him. Then moments later his heart started up again and he began to breath. I had him back. The moment I lost him, even for that moment, has changed my life. I know the pain of losing a child. It is an un-bearable pain, that only if you have lost a loved one, can you understand.
The staff of the hospital brought in a bed and between Julie and I, Justin was given 24 hour 7 day a week around the clock care. We fed him, cleaned him, helped change his dressings, and made sure that he was made as comfortable as we possibly could for a full two weeks.
As Julie was not able to leave Justin, she had to give up her job. The care required to sustain him was much. Julie spent everyday helping Justin breath, and exercise his lungs, changing his dressing, feeding him, and loving him enough to deny his request to end his life. Justin did not have the will to live and wanted to die. Julie was ultimately the person in Justin's life to give him the desire to live. Without Julie there I believe Justin would not have pulled through.
Justin had his second surgery five days after admittance. His pelvis was stablelized and our main concerns were infections which could still take his life. We continued to watch carefully and kept all his dressings clean.
After more than a week in the trauma unit Justin was moved to rehab. Some of the most painful times were yet to come as the physical therapy was painful to the point of Justin passing out and barely making it back to his room. Justin would break out in a cold sweat and have to be showered with ice water to keep his temperature down. He ran a temp for two weeks. Breathing treatments continued on a daily basis.
People need to realize when they are sitting home watching television and programs like cops it's real. The reckless driver is speeding and being chased and next thing you know the speeder hits another car injuring innocent occupants. When the credits roll there is the short statement at the end that reads like this. "The driver was sentence to one year and the injured fully recovered"…. Well I'm here to tell you, the injured never fully recover. They do not recover from the emotional distress and they don't sleep as well as they used to. They recover only their injuries after extensive suffering. Justin Experienced three long grueling weeks in the hospital, two months in a wheel chair, six weeks in a walker and then there is the mental suffering that continues day after day with fear. The fear is that they will never be the same. Justin will always walk with a limp and will have joint disorders from the bone damage down the road. He will always be fearful of driving a car and will worry about whether or not he will ever have to go through this again. He doesn't get to enjoy the things in life he has worked so hard to be able to enjoy. He fell short of loss of life just because one guy decided to have a few too many beers. Let's not forget about the financial losses he incurred in the amount of just less than $200,000.00. He is also facing the third surgery nine months down the road to have the screw removed that held his pelvis together. It's not going to be over for a long time and the healing is slow. Not to mention more medical bills to come.
Justin is a just and decent person, he was raised to respect and care. I have a lifetime contract with Justin (see attachment) that deals specifically with drinking. When He was a child Justin agreed to call for advice or transportation at any hour, from any place, if he was ever in a situation where he had too much to drink. He to this day is responsible. He was out playing pool and had some drinks. He called his wife to come drive him home and guess what? He was hit by a drunk who didn't have the common sense to call a cab let alone his wife.
Mark Nigon has it all. He has a wife, kids, a church going family, a home, and a decent job. Everything a man could possibly want or need in his life for it to be complete. One day Mark had too many beers, took the cops on a joy ride at excessive high speed, through the quiet night, going the wrong way down the street and ended up smashing into Justin and his new wife Julie. Mark pinned Justin inside the Jeep to bleed to death. If it was not for the police being on the scene right away, Justin would not be here today. It took the paramedics over an hour to cut Justin loose as he laid there screaming in pain. Justin laid there with a broken hip, pelvis, head injury, pubic diastases, acetabular fractures, right foot fractures, left foot fractures, right open femur fracture, compound tibia, and fibula fractures. All the while Mark, who was falling down drunk, walked away without a scratch, taken to jail to sleep it off. The incident was classified as Vehicular assault: A felony charge from severely injuring another individual in a car accident through reckless driving (commonly alcohol related).
This case of vehicular assault is in fact pre-meditated murder. How could it be different than murder? You go out, make a conscience decision to put an excessive amount of alcohol into your system and determine to go on a joy ride running from the police just to end up almost killing someone. What about the police whose lives were in jeopardy while in pursuit of Mark? We have lost many officers in the line of duty due to drunk drivers. Mark made a conscience decision to drink , get into a 4000 pound killing machine and run from the law inflicting injury on others. Do you not think for one moment Mark has not had his children in the vehicle with him at times while intoxicated? He is a bad example for his family. Any man at the age of 41, has no concern for human life, if he will evade the law in a manner such as he did. Mark's decision was made after his first drink.
Mr. Nigon knew right away that he had trouble coming and hired an attorney to fight for him. He plea bargained to a lesser charge of four charges. He hid behind the skirt of his wife, used the church, and the fact that he has a handicap child to make himself look like we should show pity on him. Mark worries about himself only, worried about how much time he will get or how much money he will have to pay, but never once called to say he was sorry for Justin and Julies's injuries and never had a bit of concern except for himself. Poor Mark! If Mark Nigon gets work release and a year or less the system will have failed us. The D.M.V. suspends drivers licenses for one year due to a D.U.I. Shouldn't Vehicular Assault have a stiffer penalty?
One year and work release is a simple D.U.I charge penalty. Vehicular assault is more severe. Our prisons are full but make no mistake, people like Mark Nigon should not be let off lightly.
I once knew a convicted drug dealer. He fought and fought and he beat the system. He filed hardships and cried until the judge gave him one year with work release and I am here to tell you the criminal mind laughs at judges and juries who let them off lightly. They have beat the system. Work release is not time. It's a place to sleep. Mark Nigon needs more than a place to sleep. This is his second DUI. So what if they were 20 years apart. That just means he didn't get caught in-between.
My family has been torn apart. We all have suffered at the careless hands of Mark Nigon. We ask for substantial time for Mark. Anything less than one year would be devastating to our family. We have suffered greatly and deserve justice. He should serve as much time as the law allows. Most states offer anywhere from 6 to 10 years for severely injuring a person in alcohol related accidents. Nothing less is justice. Also the D.M.V. suspends one's license for one year for a D.U.I. Shouldn't Vehicular Assault do more?
Remember this, I never thought it would be me or my child but it was. If the right thing is not done it may be someone else's child. Maybe even someone you know. We need to send a message to the people. This behavior is not acceptable. The punishment needs to fit the crime or we will not be able to stop these horrendous acts of violence. Please, give Mark Nigon the maximum sentence allowed. Nothing less is acceptable to our entire family. Give Mark Nigon the time, for the punishment must fit the crime.