By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A decorated retired U.S. Army colonel is accused of vehicular homicide, drunken driving and fleeing after police said he struck and killed a Colorado State Patrol trooper along a major highway, authorities said on Monday.
Eric Peterson Henderson is being held on a $1 million bond in the death of 33-year-old Jaimie Jursevics, who was killed Sunday night on Interstate 25 south of Denver, said Sgt. Lori Bronner, spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
"He (Henderson) is facing multiple charges, including vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence and careless driving resulting in death," Bronner said.
Bronner said Jursevics was assisting another trooper at a separate accident shortly before 9 p.m. local time when Henderson allegedly hit her with his vehicle and fled.
Henderson, 52, was ultimately stopped and arrested by officers with the Palmer Lake Police Department, authorities said.
Colorado State Patrol Chief Scott Hernandez said Jursevics joined the agency in 2011 and leaves behind a husband and a young child.
"Our family has been hurt today," Hernandez said. "A senseless act has taken the life of someone who swore to protect Colorado."
Henderson served 27 years in the Army, reaching the rank of colonel before leaving the military in 2013, according to an official Army website article on his retirement ceremony.
At the ceremony, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kurt S. Story called Henderson a leader and "a great American," according to the article.
"A leader has a responsibility to the community - in this case the larger Army enterprise - our nation," it quoted Story as saying. "Eric never lost sight of that. And lastly a leader has an obligation to ethics and morality - to our code, and Eric never lost sight of that."
Story then awarded Henderson with the "Legion of Merit" for his long military career that included serving as chief of operations for the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command in Colorado Springs, the article said.
Henderson works for Colorado Professional Resources, LLC, a defense contractor that provides services to government agencies on satellite and missile defense systems, according to the company's website.
He is due in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday for an advisement hearing, court records showed.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler)