Driver allegedly drunk in crash with officer

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Prosecutors say the man charged with causing the death of Littleton Police Officer Kevin Denner had a blood-alcohol content of more than .08 percent when his vehicle allegedly collided with Denner’s motorcycle.

Under Colorado law, that would mean Jemal Abdelkader Dawed was driving under the influence of alcohol. Because of that, Aurora police were in court May 24 to revoke his driver’s license, though they issued him a temporary one.

Dawed’s attorney says his client has worked as a driver at Denver International Airport for the last six years.

Dawed is free on $50,000 bond, although the prosecution has tried twice to get the amount raised to $100,000.

“The people are concerned about the defendant’s return to court based on his lack of community ties, and based on the gravity of the offense,” prosecutor Brittany Martin told Judge Richard Jausch.

She said the only family confirmed to be living here is one brother; the rest of his relatives apparently are in Africa.

“Bond is not to be punitive,” countered Dawed’s attorney, Wazir-Ali Muhammad Al-Haqq. He said his client has conformed to every condition the court has placed on him, including wearing a GPS tracking device and turning his passport over to his bondsman.

“There are at least 12 people here today to stand for Mr. Dawed because of his importance and his reputation within the Ethiopian community here in Colorado,” Al-Haqq said.

The judge declined to raise the bond from $50,000, the standard amount for the offenses he’s charged with.

Dawed is charged with vehicular homicide, driving while under the influence of alcohol, careless driving and failure to yield the right of way. He was not injured in the crash.

Police say Denner was riding his personal motorcycle at the intersection of Belleview Avenue and DeGaulle Street in Aurora on May 6 when he crashed into the Toyota that Dawed was driving.

“We believe the driver of the Toyota caused the accident by failing to yield the right of way when making a left turn,” Aurora police said in a statement on the day of the collision.

Jausch set Aug. 8 as the date for Dawed’s preliminary hearing. District Attorney George Brauchler is personally prosecuting the case.