BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (AP) A Denver Broncos executive accused of crashing into two cars while driving drunk last year has been sentenced to seven months in jail after he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and careless driving resulting in injury.
Director of player personnel Matt Russell won’t have to miss any work, however, because County Court Judge Edward Casias on Friday approved Russell for work release as part of his sentence.
That means Russell can make arrangements to serve his sentence in his home county of Arapahoe, serving jail time at night while going to his job at team headquarters during the day.
Russell, who was charged after his vehicle ran into the back of a police SUV in Colorado’s Summit County over the Fourth of July holiday last summer, also was ordered to perform 120 hours of community service and pay fines and victim restitution.
Russell was arrested while celebrating his 40th birthday. He hit two vehicles, including the police SUV in Breckenridge, injuring an officer. He registered a 0.246 percent breath alcohol content, three times the legal threshold for a DUI violation in Colorado, according to the arrest affidavit.
Russell was traveling an estimated 40 mph when he struck the police SUV that was parked on the side of U.S. Highway 9. The officer sustained a neck injury and was transported to Summit Medical Center for treatment.
”Mr. Russell was given neither a (harsher) nor a less severe sentence than any other defendant,” District Attorney Bruce Brown said. ”In the eyes of the prosecution, he deserves treatment like any other citizen. The court has rendered an appropriately significant sentence upon Mr. Russell, measured to hold him accountable for the injuries he caused to a law enforcement officer who was doing his job to protect the public and instead ended up in the hospital.”
Following his arrest, the Broncos suspended Russell without pay and he spent a month at an in-patient facility getting treatment, rehabilitation and counseling services before rejoining the team last season as it made its run to the Super Bowl.
Russell’s bosses made it clear following his sentencing Friday that they’re standing behind him.
”We are pleased with the commitment Matt Russell has shown in making positive changes in his life since this incident occurred nearly a year ago,” the Broncos said in a statement. ”In addition to his successful completion of a monthlong inpatient treatment program last summer, he has taken full advantage of outpatient counseling resources and passed every substance abuse test administered as part of his reinstatement to this organization.
”We will continue to support Matt as a member of the Denver Broncos and this community.”
Also in July, the Broncos suspended director of pro personnel Tom Heckert for a month after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated in June.
The pair of drunken driving arrests by the Broncos executives not only served as a black eye for the organization but also left executive vice president John Elway without his top two lieutenants for several weeks during a key period of player evaluation last summer.
Both men have returned to their former duties and helped Elway put together a roster that’s again favored to reach the Super Bowl.