Jefferson County man pleads guilty for role in deadly hit-and-run outside Golden bar

A 26-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in a deadly hit-and-run outside a Golden bar last year.

Ernesto Avila, during a disposition hearing Tuesday in Jefferson County court, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, obstructing a peace officer and false reporting to authorities, all misdemeanors. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining felony charges.

Investigators say a chaotic, drunken brawl precipitated the hit-and-run in the early morning of Oct. 9, 2022, outside the Rock Rest Lodge on Mt. Vernon Road.

Avila and his cousin, Ruben Marquez, were at the bar for a birthday celebration when they were confronted by two men who asked about Avila’s gang affiliation, he told investigators last year. A fistfight ensued before the cousins left the bar.

Marquez then got in his truck and drove into a crowd outside the bar, authorities said. The attack killed Adrian Ponce, 26, and injured six others.

The district attorney charged Marquez with first-degree murder and assault. He’s set for his arraignment on Wednesday.

Avila, who was in the passenger seat during the incident, investigators said, faced charges of accessory to murder and accessory to assault.

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