Two men charged with felony theft of vehicles in separate cases pleaded guilty in Pitkin County District Court on Monday.
Both Michael J. Vickery, 39, of Tularosa, N.M., and Kevin M. Craig, 22, described in court records as a student at the University of Missouri, entered guilty pleas before District Judge Gail Nichols after reaching agreements for two-year deferred judgments with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Nichols set sentencing in both cases for May 19.
Vickery is expected to get a deferred sentence on the charge of aggravated motor-vehicle theft, a felony, but he also entered a straight guilty plea — meaning it will not be deferred — to driving while ability impaired, a misdemeanor. When he was arrested on Jan. 24, on the weekend of the Winter X Games, he faced a total of three misdemeanors, including DUI, in addition to the felony count.
Described in court records as a blackjack dealer, Vickery admitted in court that he illegally took a vehicle that didn’t belong to him and drove it while drunk.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 24, Aspen police responded to an emergency call involving a vehicle theft in the Aspen Meadows area. According to an arrest affidavit by police officer Adam Loudon, the vehicle was described as a purple Jeep with a snow plow on the front. Loudon and two other police officers found the running vehicle — with Vickery in the driver’s seat and the plow in the working position — on North Third Street sometime around 3 a.m., the affidavit says.
“Officer (Dave) Rosselot asked Vickery where he got the Jeep from,” Loudon wrote. “Vickery said he did not know.”
Vickery told police he had consumed about 10 beers, the affidavit states. He had a breath-alcohol level of 0.154, nearly twice the legal limit used as a minimum standard for DUI, police records show.
Craig also will receive a two-year deferred judgment for a single count of felony motor-vehicle theft. He entered a straight guilty plea on a single misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.
A September investigation by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office led to the charges against Craig. According to a statement of facts by Deputy Grant Jahnke, a woman who lives on Sopris Mountain Ranch Road reported early on Sept. 19 that a 2005 Lexus had been stolen from her driveway.
That same morning, deputies investigated a call of an unattended vehicle, a Hyundai, sitting off the same road. It was covered in mud and serviceberries, Jahnke wrote. A debit card bearing Craig’s name was found inside the vehicle.
The investigation led to a phone call to a relative of Craig’s in Missouri. She told authorities that Craig had stolen his mother’s car, the Hyundai, on Sept. 15 from their home in St. Peters, Mo., and had a dream to move to California, Jahnke’s report says. The mother was concerned for his well-being, the deputy wrote.
Investigators later learned that Craig had made a phone call earlier that morning, before their investigation began, from a bus station in Green River, Utah, to his mother’s house in Missouri. That evening, the Lexus was recovered in Green River, in the yard of a construction company. The vehicle was in good shape, according to an Emery County Sheriff’s Office detective.
Pitkin County deputies also learned that evening that Craig was in the custody of the Mesa County Jail in Grand Junction on an unknown charge. It is not clear from the report how he was able to return to Colorado.
Craig was booked into the Pitkin County Jail on Oct. 7.