Driver in bicycle death gets 4 1/2 years - Albuquerque Journal

Driver in bicycle death gets 4 1/2 years

A drunken driver who plowed into and killed a local homebuilder as he rode a bike in his gated neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon in 2015 was sentenced Friday afternoon to 4½ years in prison.

 CoulterCook
CoulterCook

Coulter Cook, 27, pleaded guilty in August to vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated in connection with the death of 59-year-old Reed “Bart” Rutledge. His plea agreement capped his sentence at six years. Prosecutor Alfred Quintana asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence, while Cook’s defense attorney Erlinda Johnson asked the judge for probation.

Second Judicial District Judge Brett Loveless said he recognized that while Cook had no criminal history and expressed “a great deal of remorse,” he also “got behind the wheel of a car and drove in a neighborhood and killed a man.” He also pointed out that Cook’s crime was set in a society packed full of messages reminding citizens about the destructive consequences of driving drunk.

Cook described his own actions as “reckless” and “irresponsible” as he told the judge and a full courtroom that an apology would not begin to describe how terrible he feels.

“I would never ask for or expect forgiveness for the damage that I have caused,” he said. “My only hope is that the victims of my terrible mistake who are still here will one day find peace and happiness in their lives.”

According to police, witnesses reported seeing a truck swerving and bouncing between the curbs on a street in the Tanoan community at around 2 p.m. July 19, 2015. The truck hit Rutledge as he rode his bicycle, dragging him about 150 feet. Quintana said a blood test taken about four hours after the collision found that Cook’s blood alcohol level was 0.23 percent.

Rutledge’s daughter told the court about the man her father was, and the way his death has impacted her family.

 Reed "Bart" Rutledge
Reed “Bart” Rutledge

“I remember watching my mom crumple to the floor as a scream exploded from my mouth that I wanted to stop but couldn’t,” Rachel Rutledge said, describing the day her father was killed.

Rutledge’s wife, Jeneen, said she thought the sentence was insufficient and said it was “ludicrous” that the state continues to allow drunken driving fatalities to happen. “Another family’s going to go through this and we’re going to say, ‘Why?’ ” she said. “This is why.”

Rachel Rutledge said nothing would bring her father back. “It’s just not enough,’ she said. “And it’s never going to be enough.”

Johnson declined to comment on the sentence following the hearing.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
ABQ officials push tough-on-crime bills
ABQnews Seeker
The mayor of Albuquerque's largest city ... The mayor of Albuquerque's largest city on Friday called on the New Mexico Legislature to tackle a series of 'tough-on-crime' bills during its ongoing ...
2
Man charged in 2021 ABQ homicide
ABQnews Seeker
A man is charged in the ... A man is charged in the shooting death of another last year at an apartment complex in Southeast Albuquerque. Brandon Holloman, 28, is charged ...
3
Attorneys say MDC could not find inmates for hearings, ...
ABQnews Seeker
On Thursday, one of Ryan Villa's ... On Thursday, one of Ryan Villa's clients was supposed to appear at a pretrial detention hearing — by way of a tablet in a ...
4
New COVID-19 cases set record for third straight day
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico set a record for ... New Mexico set a record for new reported COVID-19 cases for a third day in a row Friday as the omicron variant continued to ...
5
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...
6
J. Crew bids adieu to Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
J. Crew first opened its doors ... J. Crew first opened its doors for New Mexicans in 2012, according to earlier reporting, and specialized in men's and women's fashion.
7
NM Republican Party files lawsuit over new congressional map
ABQnews Seeker
With control of the U.S. House ... With control of the U.S. House at stake in November, the New Mexico Republican Party filed a lawsuit in state court Friday over a ...
8
Albuquerque issues air quality alert for blowing dust
ABQnews Seeker
The City of Albuquerque has issued ... The City of Albuquerque has issued an air quality health alert for Friday night due to dust and high winds.  The city's Environmental Health ...
9
Watchdog group calls for webcasting of Senate panel
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico Foundation for Open ... The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is calling on the state Senate to make it easier for the public to follow the work ...