CRIME BRIEFSFight sends Silt cop to hospital |

CRIME BRIEFSFight sends Silt cop to hospital

Ryan Summerlin

A Silt police officer was injured Tuesday in a violent encounter with 45-year-old Anthony Benham during what was supposed to be a simple civil standby.

The officer went to the 400 block of Eagle’s Nest Drive in Silt when a woman was grabbing her handbag and leaving the residence. A report said Benham came down the driveway toward her.

The officer stepped between them, and the 45-year-old punched the officer in the jaw, according to an arrest report. A struggle ensued, during which the man grabbed for the officer’s gun, then his Taser. The officer sustained several punches to the face and body. Silt Police Chief Mike Kite said that two neighbors intervened in the fight and helped the officer detain Benham.

Benham has multiple ongoing cases, including one for felony assault on a peace officer.

Both the officer and Benham were treated for injuries at Grand River Hospital. The police chief declined to specify the officer’s injuries out of concern for medical privacy, but he said the officer was treated and released within only a couple of hours.

In this case, Benham was arrested on felony charges of first-degree assault — strong-arm, disarming a peace officer and criminal attempt to commit.

He quickly picked up a second felony case, even while he was lodged in the Garfield County Jail. When a detention deputy went into Benham’s cell Wednesday morning so the jail’s medical staff could get his vitals, the inmate filled a cup from the toilet bowl and threw the liquid on the deputy.

In this case he was charged with felony second-degree assault “due to the very high likelihood of the water … being contaminated with hazardous bodily fluids,” according to the arrest report.

Motorcyclist kickS flagger

A confrontation at a road construction site July 19 in Rifle ended with a motorcyclist kicking a disabled flagger in the genitals and speeding off.

The man on the motorcycle had been “racing up and down the street recently” around the construction at Fifth Street and Will Avenue, the injured flagger later told officers.

An officer wrote that this flagger is “obviously disabled and has a deformation of the spine. The flagger said he has spastic paraparesis, similar to multiple sclerosis, and uses a cane to walk and to stand.

When the flagger signaled him to stop, the motorcyclist yelled at him that he lives on Will Avenue and that he didn’t have to stop. “The man on the motorcycle accelerated, lifted his front tire off the ground, dropped the front tire back on the ground and kicked him in the genitals as he rode by,” a Rifle officer wrote in his report. The kick carried enough force to send the man to the ground.

The motorcyclist also appeared to be recording the whole incident on his cell phone, according to multiple witnesses. Several witnesses reported seeing him race through the site and kick the flagger to the ground.

“When he fell backwards to the ground he felt extreme pain in his back, abdomen and genitals,” and the officer called for an ambulance.

The attacker was arrested on felony crimes against at-risk person, felony vehicular assault and misdemeanor false reporting.

Angry ex-girlfriend abuses vehicles

A sheriff’s patrolman responded to Village Drive near Rifle July 23 evening to reports from a 26-year-old man saying his ex-girlfriend had vandalized two of his vehicles.

They had been dating for about six months, but they broke up a few days earlier. He thought they would stay friends, but he started getting “hostile text messages” from her, he told police.

She had texted him that morning to come outside of his house, and when he did he found her standing outside with a knife.

She eventually left, but the man found both of his vehicles, a maroon Ford Explorer and a blue Chevrolet Silverado, severely damaged.

On the truck a turn signal light was broken and pulled out of the socket, the driver’s seat belt was cut, an expletive had been carved into the bed, the taillights were both broken and lighting cables were cut. On the SUV a turn signal light was torn out, the gas cap was open, the same expletive was carved into the driver-side doors, the trailer light cables were cut, the seat belts and seats were cut and an iPad was smashed.

The owner of the house, from whom the man rented a room, heard banging outside and saw the 27-year-old woman near the vehicles, though she did not directly see her damaging them.

Rifle police were later dispatched to a weapons violation at McDonald’s, where the same 27-year-old woman had been spotted outside holding a machete.

When police questioned her about being at her ex’s house and whether she damaged his vehicle, she responded, “I’m not sorry about that,” according to an affidavit.

She began to walk away, saying she didn’t want to talk to officers anymore. Walking toward her driver-side door, she pushed an officer who was standing in the way. A struggle ensued as an officer attempted to detain her, and she kicked an officer in the legs while they were trying to search her.

In her vehicle officers found a 24-inch black machete, another fixed-blade knife, a glass pipe suspected to be used for methamphetamine and a plastic bag of nearly 10 grams of methamphetamine.

Also in the vehicle officers found a 13-inch hatchet with blue and maroon paint “edged in the steel.”

She was arrested on charges including felony second-degree assault on a peace officer, two counts of felony first-degree trespass, felony criminal mischief and possession of a controlled substance, a drug felony.

Tires slashed at Army recruiter office

Last week, a few vehicles at the Army recruiter’s office in Glenwood Springs had their tires slashed, and Glenwood Springs police are keeping an ear out for information on the crime.

Currently investigators have no suspects in the case, said Terry Wilson, Glenwood police chief. Wilson said the vandals slashed about 12 tires.

An oddly similar incident occurred in Colorado Springs on Thursday, where tires of several vehicles had been slashed in front of two military recruiter offices.

Wilson said there’s a distinct possibility that these incidents are related, but these crimes are difficult to investigate, short of someone being caught on video or someone witnessing the crime.

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