DURANGO — A jury has convicted a man of causing a crash that killed a professional cyclist in southwest Colorado.
The Durango Herald reports Cordell Schneider was found guilty Thursday of vehicular homicide and reckless driving for the March 4, 2020, crash near Marvel that killed 39-year-old Benjamin Sonntag. Schneider is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 15 and faces two to six years in prison for vehicular homicide and 10 to 90 days in jail for reckless driving.
Colorado State Patrol investigators say he was driving a pickup at about 69 mph in a 35 mph zone on a dirt road when he crashed into Sonntag, who was riding in the opposite direction.
Defense attorney Joel Fry faulted Sonntag for riding in the wrong lane of traffic to speed his training ride. But prosecutors noted that two other drivers encountered the cyclist and were able to safely go around him. The prosecution said Schneider’s excessive speed prevented him from going around Sonntag.
Sonntag came to Durango from Germany and won multiple collegiate national championships for the cycling program at Fort Lewis College, where he graduated in 2010. He continued to race professionally and was sponsored by Team CLIF Bar.