Aspen taxi stolen, driver assaulted
ASPEN, Colo. An Oklahoma man was arrested Sunday after he allegedly assaulted a High Mountain Taxi driver and stole his cab.Brooks Mims Talton III, 41, faces charges of motor vehicle theft, driving under the influence and misdemeanor assault. He was released from jail on a $4,000 bond and will appear in court on Aug. 6.Paul Nesvat, a driver with High Mountain Taxi, picked up Talton from a private party at the Aspen Art Museum around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.”He seemed pretty drunk, especially compared to the guy putting him in the cab,” Nesvat said in a phone interview Monday. “He wasn’t rude or anything.”According to Pitkin County sheriff’s office patrol supervisor Joe Bauer, Talton was headed to Fall Creek Road, about nine miles up Castle Creek Road. But as the taxi passed Aspen Valley Hospital, Talton started punching Nesvat, he said.”[Talton] just woke up and started flailing on the driver, hitting him in the face,” said Todd Gardner, president of High Mountain Taxi. “Paul didn’t have time to get the keys out of the car. He basically fell out of the car. He had been hit in the head so many times, he was kind of in a daze. The passenger got in the driver’s seat and took off in the vehicle.”It was unclear if the incident happened within city limits, so Pitkin County and Aspen officers responded. An Aspen police car pulled the taxi over as it came back toward town on Castle Creek Road. “[Officers] were able to determine that it was the same taxi and made the stop very close to where it started,” Bauer said. Nesvat was treated and released from Aspen Valley Hospital and is taking some time off work to recover from the incident, Gardner said.”He was hit pretty hard,” Gardner said. “He kind of feels like a boxer who went through 10 rounds.”An internet search for Brooks Mims Talton III in Oklahoma resulted in only one person. According to the Internet site for Compressco Inc., Talton has served as the CEO and president of the 100-employee oil and gas exploration company since 1999. Talton could not be reached for comment Monday, nor could Compressco officials.”It’s the first time an event like this has happened since I’ve owned the company,” said Gardner, who bought High Mountain Taxi in 2001. “Everyone we transport shows a lot of respect for the drivers. They’re just out there working hard trying to make money for themselves and their families.”
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