Basalt cops nab suspect after nearly fatal alcohol incident
BASALT ” A 21-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly providing whiskey last week to a 15-year-old boy who nearly drank himself to death, Basalt police Sgt. Stu Curry said.
Brandon Buechler of the Basalt area was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a felony charge, and taken to Eagle County jail, Curry said. He made his first appearance in court on Thursday and remained in custody on a $7,500 bond.
Basalt police pursued the arrest aggressively because the incident nearly ended in a tragic death, Curry said. Buechler is accused of supplying the boy with a bottle of Southern Comfort. The boy passed out at the Basalt skate park at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17. A concerned resident notified authorities and the boy was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and treated for excessive alcohol consumption, Curry said. A test showed the boy had a blood alcohol level of 0.350, the arrest warrant said.
“It’s a potentially lethal level,” said Eagle County Deputy Coroner Scott Thompson.
If the boy had passed out in a private residence rather than a highly visible location, he might not have received the medical he needed, Curry said.
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Police tracked down Buechler from evidence at the scene. The bottle of Southern Comfort had a price sticker from Jimbo’s liquor store in Basalt. Officers asked clerks there if they knew who bought the whiskey. They did, Curry said, because the purchaser also filled out an employment application. They identified Buechler as the buyer.
Curry said Buechler denied buying the booze for the boy in an earlier interview with police. He claimed he placed the bottle under a bench and forgot about it.
Police got an arrest warrant signed by a judge. An officer found Buechler on Wednesday evening outside of Basalt High School, where students were gathered around a bonfire for a homecoming celebration. He was arrested without incident.
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