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April 20, 2011
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Second Michigan State player sentenced in Aspen police chase

ASPEN - A second Michigan State University football player snared by Aspen Police on March 10 following a downtown bar scuffle reached a disposition with prosecutors Tuesday.

Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely signed off on a plea agreement calling for the dismissal of an eluding police charge and a guilty plea to a minor-in-possession-of-alcohol count for Max Bullough, 19, who will be a sophomore next season at the Big 10 Conference school.

The judge handed Bullough, a linebacker, a nine-month deferred sentence for the alcohol-possession charge, meaning that if he stays out of trouble through Jan. 17, 2012, the conviction will be expunged from his record. He also must attend three alcohol-awareness classes by Oct. 18, as well as attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel, the judge said.

Neither Bullough nor his attorney, Saskia A. Jordan of Denver, appeared for the court hearing, during which time Fernandez-Ely read aloud the sanctions against Bullough.

Bullough's sentencing came a week after his teammate, Brian Linthicum, 23, was given a one-year deferred judgment on a third-degree misdemeanor charge of harassment/strike, shove or kick, stemming from the March 10 incident.

Police reports from the incident had been kept under wraps until Tuesday, at which time authorities released the details.

According to the report, police said they were called to the Regal Watering Hole at approximately 1:40 a.m., in response to a complaint about a fight involving two "big guys." The alleged victim, 26-year-old Benjamin Nichols of London, told police that the two males confronted him at the bar, and one of them grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. Nichols then knocked off the hat of Linthicum, who then punched him in the face, Nichols told police. Nichols then fell to the ground.

"Once on the ground, Nichols told me that the two males had then started kicking him repeatedly. Nichols showed me that his shirt had been ripped on the front and back as a result of the assault," police said. Nichols also had an injury to his right eye, but did not receive medical treatment the morning in question.

Two other witnesses corroborated Nichols' story to police, and one said that both Bullough and Linthicum had been causing "minor" problems that evening "by being rowdy prior to the assault on Nichols."

Police, upon arriving at the Regal, initially had difficulty detaining the two suspects, and saw them running in an alley, according to the report.

When Officer Adam Loudon pulled his patrol vehicle in front of the alley to block the suspects, Bullough ran into the rear of the car, while Linthicum dodged the vehicle and continued running down the alley, the report says. Bullough, however, regrouped and continued to run.

The two suspects blew off officers' repeated commands to stop, the report says. Loudon then came within about 8 feet from Linthicum and deployed a Taser, hitting the tight end in the upper part of his back, the report says.

Linthicum dropped to the ground and was subsequently handcuffed, the report says.

Loudon said he had no choice but to use a stun gun on Linthicum, whom he had warned about the Taser.

While in custody, Linthicum told police that he and Bullough had been attacked at the Regal. He also complained of pains to his hip, but refused medical attention.

Meanwhile, police tracked Bullough down on Hyman Avenue. Bullough, according to police, complied to their orders to get on the ground and not move.

After police detained him, Bullough initially denied trying to escape from the officers, the report says.

"I asked Bullough why he was running away from the cops, and he stated that he was walking home," Officer Jeff Fain wrote. "I told Bullough that it was time to start telling the truth, and that I had been chasing him for a few blocks. ... Bullough then admitted to running away from us because he was scared, but he did not know that we were police officers."

Bullough also told police he had not been an altercation that evening. Police also discovered two IDs on Bullough - one that was actually his, the other of a man born in March 1988.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Apr 20, 2011 12:44PM Published Apr 20, 2011 02:55AM Copyright 2011 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.