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Suspect pleads not guilty in bikers’ deaths

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

A Cortez woman charged with killing two people on a motorcycle while drunken driving pleaded “not guilty” Friday in 6th Judicial District Court.

Stacie Pierce-Green, 40, is scheduled for a four-day trial beginning Jan. 22 before District Judge David Dickinson.

Pierce-Green is suspected of sideswiping an oncoming motorcycle and killing two riders – Frank Steward, 66, and Jessica Steward, 65, of Tahoe Vista, Calif.

The crashed occurred about 4:45 p.m. May 22 on U.S. Highway 160, a few miles west of Hesperus.

Pierce-Green was driving a green Mercury Tracer westbound when she crept over the center line by a couple of feet and collided with a 2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

The motorcycle was traveling eastbound close to the double-yellow line, but troopers said it was in its own lane at the point of impact.

Pierce-Green told troopers she consumed four Bud Light beers and smoked marijuana at a friend’s house in Durango before the crash, according to an arrest affidavit filed in District Court.

She said she wanted to be honest about the beers and marijuana, but denied causing the accident.

Pierce-Green has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and faces 4 to 12 years in prison if convicted on either count.

The possible penalties could be increased to 24 years in prison if she is found to be in violation of probation for a prior offense for felony assault with a deadly weapon in the heat of passion.

She pleaded guilty to the charge Nov. 30, 2007, and was sentenced to four years’ probation in February 2008. The probation was extended one year for a probation violation, according to court records.

Pierce-Green is being held in the La Plata County Jail without bail.

shane@durangoherald.com

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