USA Cycling photo. (Handout)

DURANGO — A man who caused a crash that killed a professional cyclist in southwest Colorado has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Cordell Schneider was convicted in July of vehicular homicide and was sentenced Friday for the March 4, 2020, crash near Marvel that killed Benjamin Sonntag, 39, The Durango Herald reported.

Colorado State Patrol investigators said Schneider 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.

“I’m going to send you to prison, in part, because I want to see if that shakes you in a way that you really begin to truly get what has happened here,” District Judge William Herringer told Schneider during the hearing.

While out on bail, Schneider was involved in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash in west Durango in July. Police say he tried to flee the scene on foot, and a witness also reported that Schneider was trying to remove the motorcycle from the road and hide it in a nearby parking lot.

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.

Sonntag’s parents, Irmgard and Klaus, and his brother, Daniel, traveled to Durango from Germany to attend Friday’s hearing.

“Our sadness is never ending, and our tears just won’t dry,” Klaus Sonntag said through a translator.

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