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Roaring Fork Schools sued over handling of GSHS student harassment claims following sex assault incident

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Denver on Wednesday claims the Roaring Fork School District mishandled harassment claims by a female Glenwood Springs High School student and her family in the aftermath of an alleged sexual assault involving a fellow male student two years ago.

According to the claim, even though school and district officials were made aware of the situation numerous times over the course of the 2017-18 school year, nothing was done to protect the female student while both students were still attending GSHS.

After the male student accepted a plea deal in juvenile court in the spring of 2018 related to the assault incident and was sentenced to probation with sexual abuse counseling, the school board allowed him to return to school and graduate with his class after he was initially expelled, the lawsuit states.

Throughout that whole school year, the female student, who was a junior, said she was subjected to frequent, uncomfortable encounters with the student and his friends. 

She also said she was the victim of physical and verbal harassment, and even death threats from fellow students, according to the civil claim filed by renowned sexual abuse attorney John Clune in U.S. District Court.

Following the male student’s expulsion and reinstatement, GSHS officials attempted to prevent him from attending prom. However, “GSHS classmates started and circulated a petition to instead allow [the male student] to attend prom and prohibit [the female student] from attending,” according to the lawsuit.

The situation ultimately prompted her to leave GSHS for her senior year and re-enroll at another area high school, limiting her academic opportunities and causing emotional pain, for which she is now seeking damages via the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was brought in federal court, rather than state district court, alleging the school district violated its obligations under the Title IX Education Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

It names the Roaring Fork School District and GSHS Assistant Principal Patrick Engle individually as defendants in the case. However, several school- and district-level administrators were aware of the situation and failed to act accordingly, the lawsuit says.

“As a result of the sexual assaults and resulting distress, plaintiff’s studies and education have suffered substantially,” the lawsuit claims.

“(Roaring Fork School District), through the inaction of various high-ranking administrators with the ability and authority to take remedial action to stop the sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, including Assistant Principal (Patrick) Engle, Principal Paul Freeman and Superintendent Rob Stein, had actual knowledge of, and were deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment that was so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive, that it deprived plaintiff of access to the educational benefits or opportunities provided by (Roaring Fork School District), in violation of Title IX.”

School district officials said late Wednesday that they had not yet been made aware of the lawsuit, and declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, the assault occurred during the fall semester of 2016, when the female student was a sophomore and the male student a junior.

She did not report the assault to police until the following summer, and began to make school officials aware of the situation during the 2017 fall semester when she asked for protections to avoid any encounters with the male student involved.

Questions around the district’s handling of the student’s claims prompted Superintendent Stein and the school board, in the spring of 2018, to seek a third-party review of district policies dealing with harassment claims. 

Larry Nesbit, a retired schools superintendent and expert in human resources and school discipline procedures, conducted the review and interviewed parties involved in the case.

His recommendations were referenced in the lawsuit, which points out that Nesbit “issued a report acknowledging that GSHS had failed to investigate further when it initially received notice from the District Attorney’s Office that [the male student involved] had been charged with sexual assault.

“Mr. Nesbit concluded that there was a need for a more consistent formal process and procedures at GSHS in order to properly investigate and determine disciplinary action, particularly in the case of serious criminal charges, and that there were significant inconsistencies in how disciplinary issues were handled within GSHS.”

A final report issued by Nesbit to the school district in May 2019 offered second recommendations for future action. Among them: establishing better investigation protocols, proper use of the student disciplinary/expulsion process, better training for secondary administrators regarding student discipline matters and due process, regular updating of discipline policies, affirming school board and administrator roles, removal of any inconsistencies in the process, and providing further student education around sexual responsibility.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Rifle Police investigating crash that killed pedestrian

Rifle police are investigating a one-vehicle crash that killed a pedestrian Wednesday morning on U.S. Highway 6.

According to Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein, Garfield County 911 received a call around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday about a crash on Highway 6 between milemarker 93 and 94.

Rifle Police officers responded along with Colorado River Fire Rescue.

“Officers arrived first. They located a male lying in the roadway in the westbound lane of Highway 6. There were several people at the scene when the officers arrived,” Klein said.

“The officer provided life-saving measures as well as the ambulance crew when they arrived. However, those efforts failed and unfortunately, the male died at the scene.”

The Coroner’s office responded to the scene and the name of the victim is being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

Klein said from the preliminary investigation it appears that a subject was driving a blue Honda Civic traveling westbound on Highway 6 – the same direction as the pedestrian.

“After the male was struck the driver turned back around and returned to the scene,” Klein said.

Klein said the driver was arrested and that he will likely be charged with various offenses, one of which is DUI.

“All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in court,” Klein said.

Rifle Police Department is currently speaking to witnesses and gathering more information about the incident.

“We are looking for anyone that stopped at the scene to give us a call, and anyone that may have witnessed anything that happened and did not stop to please give us a call,” Klein said. “We would also like to talk to anyone who saw a man walking along the side of the road this morning.”

Witnesses of the crash can reach Rifle Police detectives at 970-665-6500.

Colorado Department of Transportation personnel and Rifle Community Service officers helped to divert traffic during the road closure. The highway was closed for approximately two hours while the scene was investigated.

The Colorado State Patrol also responded to the scene to help with the crash reconstruction.

“I want to thank everyone who stopped to help the gentleman who died,” Klein said.

kmills@postindependent.com

Colorado driving laws with respect to ice and snow removal

When it comes to removing ice and snow from a vehicle before getting on the road, Colorado has little to no laws on the books. 

“There is not a specific Colorado law that prohibits driving down the road with a snow- or ice-covered vehicle,” Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Blake White said. “It could end up creating a civil liability if your failure to clear your vehicle results in damage or injury to someone else.”

Where the law could also apply is if snow or ice obstructs the driver’s vision through the vehicle’s required glass.

According to White, drivers often fail to clear their windshield, hood or other windows of snow and ice, which can lead to serious safety hazards. 

“The snow can blow and obstruct other drivers from seeing clearly or can come off in a large damaging sheet of ice and strike another vehicle,” White said. 

Subsequently, Colorado State Patrol highly recommends that drivers remove snow from their entire vehicle in order to prevent it from being a hazard to themselves or others.

Locally, Lt. Bill Kimminau said the Glenwood Springs Police department had received at least one complaint this winter of vehicles with too much snow on their roofs driving on the city’s streets.

However, unless that snow or ice obstructs the driver’s vision or prohibits the vehicle’s lights or license plate from being seen, law enforcement has limited tools at its disposal. 

According to Kimminau, 12 wrecks occurred in the area Friday during the day. 

“They were scattered all over town.” Kimminau said. “Side streets, parking lots, Grand [Avenue]…I know it was really slick in the morning.”

In addition to clearing vehicles of ice and snow before getting on the roadways, White also emphasized a basic winter driving principle – slowing down.    

“Let’s get everybody home safe at the end of the day,” Diane Reynolds, Take A Minute campaign member, said.

Take A Minute is a local grassroots campaign, which grew out of Imagine Glenwood’s ongoing mission to enhance neighborhoods by promoting pedestrian, cyclist and driver safety. 

The campaign’s name derives from the fact that the time saved by driving 10 miles per hour over the 25 mph speed limit through Glenwood’s core evidently amounts to exactly that – one minute.

“Obeying community speeds are really critical to Glenwood’s long term wellbeing,” Reynolds said. 

“In winter weather drivers must plan on it taking longer to reach their destinations,” White said. “Slow down, give yourself more room and don’t drive distracted.”

According to Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) data, Garfield County experienced eight fatal crashes which took the lives of 10 people last year.

mabennett@postindependent.com  

Glenwood soccer standout Celia Scruton signs to play with Evergreen State in Washington

When it came to where she wanted to continue her burgeoning soccer career, Glenwood Springs senior captain Celia Scruton knew exactly what she was looking for.

It had to feel like home, and it had to have a family environment: two things that played large roles in her rapid development in the Demons’ program.

She believes she’s found that at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Scruton signed her national letter of intent during the holiday break in December to join the Geoducks under the tutelage of head coach Steve Schmidt.

“I verbally committed in August, but we made it official as soon as we could,” Scruton said shortly after her signing. “I chose Evergreen because I loved the team and the coach and the community that they have built within their team.

“It felt like home. I wanted to like where I live and really invest in this next step, and I believe I’ve done that with Evergreen.”

Glenwood Springs senior Celia Scruton signs her national letter of intent with Evergreen State College of Olympia, Wash., as her family looks on, during a Dec. 23 signing ceremony at Glenwood Springs High School.
Provided

The Geoducks are sure glad she picked Olympia, because the program is welcoming one of the best high school-level fullbacks in the state of Colorado into its ranks.

The all-state caliber defender has played a key role in leading the resurgence of Glenwood’s girls soccer program in recent years, helping the Demons’ defense clamp down on teams and leading to multiple state playoff runs, including a magical run to the semifinals in 2018.

“We knew pretty early on [she was a special player],” Evan Segal, a former Glenwood Springs assistant coach, said of Scruton. “Going back to freshman year, she was very vocal, passionate and a determined competitor.

“It’s tougher to teach players [to be like Celia]. You can develop them, but players have it or they don’t, and Celia had it right away.”

By the end of her junior year last season, teams stopped attacking her, “because they just knew,” Segal said.

“This is a kid who wants to play, wants to shut down other teams’ attacking players. And so it was awesome for us coaching, because we knew we had an awesome player. Now, it was about developing her.”

It took Scruton longer to realize her talents and find her voice as a leader. But she had a great role model in older sister, Nina, who captained the Demons in 2016 and 2017.

“My freshman year playing with Nina, she taught me how to be a captain and lead the team,” Scruton said. “That was huge for me, because she helped me find myself as a player and find my voice.”

Scruton’s energy, intensity and overall passion for the game has raised the level of preparation and focus for the Demons, turning the program into a powerhouse in 4A.

“She’s the heartbeat of the team,” former Glenwood Springs head coach Joe Calabrese said. “With her being vocal, the energy and passion that she brings, it sets a tone and a culture of high energy.

“It encompasses all that she is as a player. She really gets people energized pumped up for games. That’s who she is, and you can’t teach that.”

Segal said that unique characteristic has always been present with Scuton.

“She’s just really passionate,” he said. “She’s always been willing to grab her teammates by the jersey collar and drag them to success with her.

“… From a vocal leadership standpoint, she is and was the spark that drove a lot of her teammates to perform better than they thought they could. That was really, really invaluable.”

Scruton will likely be an attacking outside back, like she currently is in high school. Off the field, she’ll major in ceramics and minor in business. The love and interest in ceramics comes from four years of pottery classes in high school.

Now that the recruiting process is over and her next home is set, Scruton can focus on leading the Demons back to the state playoffs while playing in front of her younger sister, Abby, Glenwood’s standout goalkeeper.

“A lot of stress has been taken off my shoulders,” Scruton said. “I know where I’m going, I’ve been accepted and I have a plan. All I have to do now is enjoy my last year [in high school] and continue my leadership.”

Bus to Battlement coming summer 2020

The bus service from Battlement Mesa to Rifle could begin in June, with a grant from Garfield County.

Parachute town manager Stuart McArthur told the commissioners Monday that a number of items have to be worked out to meet the June goal, but that is the best time to be able to hire drivers for five-day bus service from Battlement Mesa to Rifle.

The commissioners voted unanimously to release a $300,000 grant to the Parachute Area Transit System, some of which will be disbursed immediately.

Connecting Parachute to the RFTA’s Hogback line has been a need for years, McArthur said.

“The town and Battlement Mesa has always needed transportation services,” McArthur said, but the idea for the town to run that service came from public meetings around 2017.

The primary groups who need the service are students who need to get to Colorado Mountain College, seniors who can’t drive and need transportation, and low-income workers who can’t afford vehicles, but need jobs and currently have no public transportation options.

There’s still a lot to do before the service is ready, but the release of grant funds marks a turning point for the project.

The June start date “coincides with two things,” McArthur told the commissioners.

“One, school is over, so school bus drivers might be available to work. And also, that notes the end of RFTA’s winter season, so again, other drivers might be available to work,” he said.

Another difficulty is procuring buses. Rifle has offered to sell their senior busses for the Parachute/Battlement, but the town isn’t sure how soon that can happen.

Courtesy / A preliminary route map for the Parachute Area Transit System.
Screen-Shot-2020-01-22-at-10.27.56-AM

Rifle is in the procurement process for a new senior bus, and the current buses are still needed for senior trips.

The first priority will be hiring an administrator to head up the bus project. McArthur will also schedule public meetings in the coming months in both the Parachute area and Rifle, and continue working on schedules, routes and bus stops.

Rifle is the only formal partner to the bus project, but RFTA has helped develop the preliminary routes, fees and schedules.

Colorado Mountain College is also looking into partnering as well.

“I think we can hopefully draw in some other partners to make this a reality, because we have some definite needs,” Commissioner Mike Samson said.

For the first year, the plan is to hire two full-time and one part-time driver for the weekday bus service.

Preliminary fare rates range from $3 for CMC students to $4.50 for a ride from the first bus stop in Battlement Mesa into Rifle.

“I think it’s going to be great for the area. The town of Parachute is happy to be able to provide this service to the residents of Parachute, Battlement Mesa, and Rifle,” McArthur said.

tphippen@postindependent.com

Forest Service starts review of trail between Redstone and McClure Pass summit

The White River National Forest announced Tuesday it will conduct an environmental assessment on Pitkin County’s proposal to build a trail from Redstone to the McClure Pass summit.

The U.S. Forest Service will undertake an environmental assessment rather than the more intensive environmental impact statement. The EA will determine if there are significant issues that warrant an EIS.

“The analysis will disclose the anticipated social and environmental effects of issuing a Special Use Authorization to Pitkin County to construct and maintain the trail on national forest system lands,” the Forest Service said in a news release.

The agency typically starts with an EIS only when there are anticipated major impacts on national forest lands, such as ski area expansions.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires public comment in both types of review.

The Forest Service will launch its review of the trail by hosting a public meeting Jan. 28, where members of the public can question Forest Service and Pitkin County representatives about the project. The open house will be held from 5–7 p.m. at the Third Street Center, 520 S. Third St. in Carbondale.

“The meeting is aimed at providing and soliciting comments on Pitkin County’s proposal to construct and maintain a natural surface, non-motorized, multi-use recreation trail from Redstone to the summit of McClure Pass,” the Forest Service said in a news release.

The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program is the entity proposing the trail. The proposal received the blessing of the Pitkin County commissioners in December 2018 after a lengthy review process.

The 7-mile trail requires Forest Service approval because 5 miles is on national forest system land. Sections of the alignment are along the historic Rock Creek Wagon Road and another part is on the Old McClure Pass road. The section that isn’t on national forest is located within the Highway 133 right of way.

“This project is aimed at improving trail connectivity between Redstone, nearby subdivisions and McClure Pass, and improving access for recreational use along Highway 133,” the Forest Service said.

Robust public participation is likely, if Pitkin County’s review process is a guide. While the trail attracted extensive support, there is also significant opposition among some residents of Redstone and the Crystal River Valley.

“Much public engagement has already occurred on this project as Pitkin County developed this proposal,” Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Kevin Warner said in a statement. “I look forward to more public engagement as this project is analyzed in greater detail.”

The Forest Service will open a 30-day public comment period at a date to be determined sometime around the open house. There will be a second opportunity to comment after the release of the draft environmental assessment.

Project information can be found on the WRNF website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56913.

For additional information concerning the project, contact Shelly Grail Braudis, project leader at 970-404-3155 or by email, shelly.grail@usda.gov.

‘Long, bumpy road’ ending for Basalt project at Pan and Fork site

A project at the Pan and Fork site earned unanimous final approval Tuesday night from the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission.

The site has been controversial for numerous reasons — residents of a former mobile home park were forced to leave, the town spent millions of dollars preparing the site for development and factions bickered for years over the proper mix of park and development.

In contrast, the final 7-0 vote by the planning commission was quick and the members were complimentary. No residents appeared to make public comment.

“It’s been a very long and bumpy road for everyone,” planning commission chairman Bill Maron said. “I think getting close to the end is a good thing.”

The project will now head to the Basalt Town Council for final review. Roaring Fork Valley businessman Tim Belinski heads the group that proposed the project.

Planning commission member Bernie Grauer, a former councilman, said Belinski’s plan compares favorably compared to what town officials have reviewed for the last “four, five or six years, which was all park or a wall of condominiums or a condominium-hotel.”

Instead the town is getting a “properly scaled combination” of residences, offices, nonprofit space and a restaurant as an anchor tenant, he said.

“This is much more fitting for our small-town character and use of that space by the river,” Grauer said. “Overall, I would give the project an A-, just because I am a hard (grader).”

Planning commissioner Gino Rossetti said he believes the project will be well-received by the public.

“I am solidly behind this,” he said.

Belinski’s group is under contract to purchase 2.3 acres from the current owner, Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. The land is stacked along Two Rivers Road between the Rocky Mountain Institute Office and Midland Avenue. The town already owns a park adjacent to the property, along the Roaring Fork River. Belinski’s group will sell the town about one acre to enlarge the park.

Belinski’s development will feature a 3,000-square-foot restaurant situated on the eastern end of the development so it fits well with the park. Space will be saved for a permanent home for the Art Base, a community arts center. There will be 11,500 square feet of commercial development and office space. Belinski said the individual spaces would be small, thus attractive in the market. There will be 20 free-market residences and four deed-restricted affordable housing units. Bathrooms will be added to a nearby bus shelter.

There will be multiple pedestrian passages both from Two Rivers Road to the park and the length of the project. That provides the “porosity” that town officials requested, according to Robin Schiller, the project architect from CCY Architects.

The project, formally called Basalt River Park, will “connect the downtown to a vibrant neighborhood to the river, enhancing and supporting Basalt’s small-town character,” Schiller said.

The residences and office building will be constructed as phase one, according to minutes of a prior planning commission meeting. The restaurant and Art Base will be a later phase.

When asked after the meeting why his project sailed through the review process after so many years of public fights over the site, Belinski replied, “It’s a good project.”

If all goes as planned, construction will begin in fall 2020, he said.

scondon@aspentimes.com

Colorado bill would require insurance to cover colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 45

Scott Wilson was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer at the age of 48.

A bill recently introduced at the Colorado legislative session has garnered Wilson’s support, as it would require health insurance carriers to cover preventative colorectal cancer screenings for both average-risk men and women beginning at the age of 45 as opposed to 50.

“I think it’s safe to assume that if I had been diagnosed at 45 rather than 48 I would have at least been early stage,” Wilson, a survivor advocate with the Colorado Cancer Coalition, said. “It may have been prevented altogether.”

Colon cancer and rectal cancer often get grouped together due to their commonalities.

According to the Colorado Cancer Coalition, treating colorectal cancer in its early stages leads to a 90% survival rate.

However, individuals diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer, like Wilson, have an approximately 10% survival rate according to the Colorado Cancer Coalition.

“When they say survival rate, that means surviving five years beyond diagnosis,” Wilson said. “I am 29 months into that journey.”

House Bill 20-1103, which Rep. Perry Will (R-New Castle) sponsored, would provide preventative health insurance coverage for screenings in accordance with the American Cancer Society’s guidelines.

The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with an average risk of developing colorectal cancer begin regular screenings at age 45.

However, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s guidelines, which state law currently adheres to, recommends screening for colorectal cancer beginning at 50.

“Our argument is that the American Cancer Society’s guideline is a more up-to-date and more recently based on science guidelines,” Wilson said.

In 2018, the American Cancer Society released updated guidelines concerning colorectal cancer screenings, recommending screenings at 45.

In addition to adopting the American Cancer Society’s updated age guideline, the bill would also mandate coverage of a follow-up colonoscopy should the initial medical test or procedure come back as being abnormal.

In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 104,000 new colon cancer cases and more than 43,000 new rectal cancer cases in the U.S.

The American Cancer Society also estimates over 53,000 deaths as a result of colorectal cancer will occur in 2020.

“All the evidence is there to say, ‘We need to catch these cases earlier,’” Wilson said.

mabennett@postindependent.com

Roaring Fork Schools graduation rate above state average; dropout rate improves

The graduation rate for Roaring Fork School District high schools fell slightly in 2019 compared to the previous year, but still exceeds the state average by a significant margin.

According to statewide graduation rate statistics released last week by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), district high schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt had a 86.9% four-year graduation rate last year — down from 87.7% for the 2017-18 school year.

The state average for the 2018-19 school year was 81.1% — a decline from 84.9% the previous year.

Major subgroups of students in Roaring Fork Schools — white (Anglo), Latino/Hispanic, male and female — are all graduating at higher rates than their statewide peers, according to the annual report. 

“Our graduation rates continue to give us cause for celebration … and are a very important indicator of school success,” Roaring Fork Schools Superintendent Rob Stein said in a news release.

“Especially when we look at demographic subgroups, we are seeing that Roaring Fork students are more likely to graduate from high school than similar peers across the state,” he said. “This is due to our schools’ efforts in supporting students with academic and attendance issues that get in the way and making our schools welcoming places where students feel they belong.”

There is some year-over-year fluctuation within the different subgroups, and Anglo students continue to graduate at a higher rate than their Hispanic/Latino peers.

According to the report, 80.4% of Hispanic/Latino students graduated on time last year, compared to a 94.3% graduation rate for Anglo students.

The graduation rate for Hispanic/Latino students in Roaring Fork Schools remains somewhat higher than the statewide average of 74% within that subgroup of students. The statewide graduation rate for Anglo students is 85.9%.

Female students in the district are also graduating at a higher rate (88.9%) than their male peers (85.2%). While Anglo male and female students are graduating at about the same rate, Latina students are more likely to graduate (83.5%) than their male peers (77.7%).

CDE also released dropout rates for 2019. The Roaring Fork Schools are on par with the state, at a 2% dropout rate. That’s an improvement from the prior year when the district had a 2.5% dropout rate. 

Stein urged caution in reading too much into slight variations from year to year in either the graduation or dropout rates.

“What we want to see is strong and improving performance over time,” he said in the release. “And that looks like it’s happening.” 

jstroud@postindependent.com

Man kicks cops, Midland car chase, and sex offender charged with domestic violence: Garfield County crime briefs

An allegedly manic man injured several Glenwood Springs Police officers while they arrested him on domestic violence charges.

Police were called to a Glenwood Springs hotel around 8:45 a.m. Jan. 17 and arrived to find a 36-year-old man who “appeared very manic, aggravated and spun up,” according to a probable cause document.

The man at the time told officers he “pleads the fifth,” in a reference to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but admitted that he and his fiancé, 29, had been arguing in their hotel room. He became agitated when officers asked for identification, and returned to yelling that he pleaded the “Fifth.”

The fiancé told police the man had not had his medication and was having a manic episode, and hit her about a dozen times in the back and shoulder. She said at one point her fiancé pinned her on the bed with his knee in her back.

The man’s behavior became more violent when officers handcuffed him, and he planted his heels in the floor, and fell to the ground to avoid officers taking him out of the room.

One officer “delivered a knee strike to his buttocks,” and they got him to the hallway.

The man barricaded his feet to avoid getting placed in the car, and kicked at the officers, who “provided strikes to his body” and forced him into the back seat.

Three officers suffered injuries, according to the affidavit.

The man faces multiple misdemeanor charges, including third-degree assault, and three counts of second-degree assault on assault on a police officer, a felony.

Midland car chase

A Glenwood Springs police officer spotted a white Cadillac sedan driving north on Midland Ave after 10 p.m. Jan 17.

The car didn’t have a license plate on the rear, and the officer attempted to make a traffic stop. But the car accelerated, going 42 mph in a 25 mph zone, and crossed a double yellow line to pass several cars.

Driving north in the southbound lanes, which had snow and ice after a day of storms, the car nearly hit a vehicle head-on, the officer wrote in the affidavit.

The driver slid on the icy road and nearly lost control, and nearly hit another car near the West Meadows traffic light.

The car did not pull over until around Devereaux Road, where the officer told the driver to exit the vehicle and get on the ground.

The driver, William Del Mazo, 24, was arrested without incident. Police found no registration or insurance, but did locate a pipe and pieces of foil with scorch marks consistent with drug use, and a 5-inch stiletto knife and a digital scale.

Once at the jail, the suspect “agreed he was trying to elude” the officer, according to the affidavit.

Registered sex offender gets new charges for domestic violence

Dispatchers could hear yelling in the background when a woman called asking for a civil standby to get someone else’s belongings out of a Rifle townhouse Jan. 19.

When an officer arrived, he saw two men through the screen door. One man, 32, began talking very fast and told police that he was trying to get his wife out of the house, according to the probable cause statement.

The man appeared jittery. He presented his knuckles to the officer and asked if they looked like he had punched anything. The officer saw no scuffs to the knuckles.

The man said his wife was going to tell police he had hit her, because they had wrestled over her phone the night before.

The man’s information indicated that he was on parole and a registered sex offender.

The man said he suspected his wife of texting another man, and had taken her phone while she was asleep, and read texts where his wife said she was trying to leave him.

He woke her up, and confronted her, and they struggled over the phone. He said his wife had one bruise under her eye from a piece of wood he accidentally hurt her with earlier.

The wife told another officer that when her husband woke up and yelled about the test messages, he began to hit her multiple times. She showed the officer bruises on her shoulder and arms. She also said her husband attempted to strangle her, but since she is bigger than him it only lasted a few seconds.

She told officers that she and her husband smoke weed every day, but her husband was not high at the time of the alleged beating.

The man was arrested, and faces charges of second-degree assault, a felony, and misdemeanor assault.

Editor’s note: The Post Independent identifies those arrested on suspicion of serious crimes and when a suspect posed a significant risk to public safety.

tphippen@postindependent.com