Patrick Ward in the Boulder County Jail courthouse May 16.
Patrick Ward in the Boulder County Jail courthouse May 16. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

The criminal case against a Lyons man accused of striking and killing a cyclist in May while driving drunk has been put on hold while state medical officials perform a competency evaluation to see if he is fit to stand trial.

Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill on Thursday granted a motion for a competency evaluation of Patrick Ward, 69.

Ward was arrested May 11. The Boulder County Sheriff's Office says he was driving his Chevy Tahoe west down Main Street in Lyons when he struck Michel Van Duym, who was riding his bike east.

Van Duym, 46, of Boulder, died at the scene.

According to a blood test administered two hours after his arrest, Ward had a blood alcohol level of 0.096. He is facing charges including vehicular homicide and DUI.

Ward's attorney, Lawrence Mertes, last month submitted the motion seeking a competency evaluation of his client. The motion cited the results of a confidential neuropsychological examination of Ward.

"Competency isn't something that is lightly raised by an attorney, and when it is raised it is primarily because there is a question about whether a client can help his lawyer participate in the process and make informed decisions," Mertes said, declining to provide specifics about his client's condition. "Medical testing in this case raised substantial questions that cannot be ignored."

At a preliminary hearing last month, Mertes raised several issues with the prosecution's case, saying sheriff's deputies did not obtain a warrant before taking the first of three blood draws. Mertes also said there were no skid marks or physical evidence to support a witness statement that Ward was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Ward, who appeared in court free on $25,000 bond, was taken into custody Thursday to undergo his evaluation.

Patrick Ward
Patrick Ward (Provided photo)

He has been assigned to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, according the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

His next scheduled court appearance is Oct. 22, when a judge is expected to review his competency evaluation and rule whether he is fit to stand trial.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or rubinoj@dailycamera.com.