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Jury finds defendant in fatal crash not guilty of homicide charges

Gabrielle Doctor involved in crash on Main Street that fatally injured Cortez man in May

In a trial last week at the Montezuma County Combined Courthouse, a jury found Gabrielle D. Doctor not guilty of vehicular homicide and criminally negligent homicide charges in a crash that fatally injured Travis Beeson in May in Cortez.

The jury did find Doctor guilty of six traffic charges in the case, including driving while ability impaired, child abuse negligence-no injury, careless driving resulting in death, failure to display proof of insurance, failure to yield right of way/left turn, and child restraint not used.

Sentencing is set for April 27 at 3 p.m. in front of Chief District Judge Todd Plewe. The prosecutor in the trial was Deputy District Attorney Mark Franklin. Defense attorney Jonathan Jourdane represented Doctor.

Doctor was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Gabrielle D. Doctor (Courtesy of Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office)

Doctor rejected a plea deal in September in the case, which stipulated a six-year jail term if he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, a Class 4 felony, and the other charges would be dismissed. The jury ruled he was not guilty of the charge.

According to a police arrest affidavit, Doctor, of Kayenta, Arizona, was driving a red Subaru when he attempted a left turn from Main Street onto South Sligo Street and collided with Beeson, 20.

Beeson, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown off his bike and was treated by bystanders and EMTs with the Cortez Fire Protection District.

He was taken to Southwest Memorial, then airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, where he died from his injuries May 27.

According to the arrest affidavit, Patrol Sgt. Glenn Edwards detected a “strong odor” of alcohol on Doctor’s breath during the crash investigation. Doctor did not perform roadside sobriety maneuvers satisfactorily.

A breath test indicated Doctor had a blood alcohol content of 0.093, according to the report. A BAC higher than 0.08 is considered driving under the influence in Colorado.

Doctor’s sister and a 6-year-old were in his car, the affidavit said. The child was not secured in an approved child-restraint system, only a regular seat belt, the report says. Doctor said the vehicle was not insured.

He told officers he had not been drinking alcohol that day, but had been drinking the previous night.

Travis Beeson played catcher for the Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team. (Julie Carlson/For The Journal)

According to an obituary from Ertel Funeral Home, Beeson was born in Tucson, Arizona. His family soon moved to Midland, Texas, and then to Cortez when he was in eighth grade. He graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2020.

Beeson was a two-sport athlete for MC-HS, playing both basketball and baseball. A catcher, Beeson was known for encouraging his teammates and having a positive attitude.

He also was known as an avid hunter and fisherman who loved to ride dirt bikes with friends in Cortez, Farmington and Montrose.

Beeson was employed at Safeway as a manager of online services and was loved by co-workers and customers, the obituary said.