Local news briefs | PostIndependent.com

Local news briefs

-staff reports
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Brenda Sue Porter, the woman who has been missing from her Edwards home since Feb. 14, was found and arrested by Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies.

Deputies located Porter, 45, in Edwards on Thursday. After making sure she was in good health, deputies arrested her on suspicion of domestic incident reported the day she disappeared.

Porter was reported missing on Feb. 14 after the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Porter saying, “No, no, don’t take me” and the phone disconnected. The Sheriff’s Office issued a statewide bulletin to law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Porter.

She was booked on suspicion of domestic violence and criminal mischief, and later freed on a $1,000 bond.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” A drunken driver who severely injured a Basalt couple in a car crash last May was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Oscar Canas Portillo, 32, of El Jebel, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of vehicular assault causing bodily injury. Eagle County District Judge Thomas Moorhead sentenced Canas Portillo to 12 years in state prison on each count, but allowed the sentences to run concurrently. Canas Portillo also got credit for the 281 days he spent in the Eagle County jail before sentencing.

Canas Portillo collided with Jeff Reese and Susan Grove about one mile west of Basalt on Two Rivers Road on May 8. Reese and Grove were knocked unconscious in the violent crash and remained in comas for weeks. Both suffered brain injuries and various broken bones. They are recovering in Aspen but face years of treatment, physical therapy and medication.

Moorhead found “extreme aggravating circumstances” in the case, according to Deputy District Attorney Steve Mallory. Canas Portillo had two prior convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol; his blood-alcohol content in this latest incident was .249, or three times higher than the threshold for a DUI conviction; and he tested positive for cocaine, Mallory said.

Reese and Grove didn’t attend Thursday’s sentencing, but they gave emotional testimony at a Jan. 28 hearing. Reese told the judge they forgave Canas Portillo but that he and Grove felt it best that he serve time in prison to reflect on what he did and to turn his life around.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a “detainer” on Canas Portillo and he will likely be deported to El Salvador when he is freed from prison, Mallory said.

Canas Portillo had earlier convictions for drunken driving in Pitkin County, in April 2003; and Garfield County, in April 2007, according to law enforcement records. He was in the U.S. legally with a work visa at the time of those convictions, Mallory said. The work visa had lapsed before the accident in May 2008.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A trucker pleaded not guilty Thursday on two counts of vehicular homicide for a fatal crash on Highway 82 last year.

Mark Chamness will take the case to a jury after his attorney, Thomas Silverman, and the district attorney’s office were unable to negotiate a plea bargain. A trial date will be set Friday by Garfield County District Judge Denise Lynch.

Chamness was charged after two people lost their lives and a third person was seriously injured in an accident on Jan. 8, 2008 near Catherine Store, about 25 miles west of Aspen and four miles east of Carbondale.

Chamness was pulling a trailer across Highway 82 shortly before dawn, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The trailer was struck by a westbound Kia Sophia with three occupants. The driver and front-seat passenger were killed instantly. The driver was Elizeo Trinidad, 21, and the passenger was Noemy Ramos, 23. A passenger in the back seat, Julio Hernandez Mendoza, was critically injured.

Silverman declined comment about the case after Thursday’s hearing. “The not guilty plea says it all,” he said.

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