Driver in high speed car chase near Rifle opts for plea deal
The man who drove 80 mph through a school zone in Rifle in April nearly missing a child took a plea deal Tuesday.
Khalil Anderson, 21, pleaded guilty to vehicular eluding, a class 5 felony, and got a two-year deferred sentence — meaning he will not have to go to prison unless he violates his probation.
Anderson also pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license and overtaking a school bus and was sentenced to 74 hours of community service and a total of six days with the Workenders alternative sentencing program in Rifle.
According to arrest records, Anderson made a number of dangerous maneuvers before and after police began to chase him.
Bystanders photographed Anderson’s car nearly hitting a young girl and passing a school bus, speeding, on a double-yellow line.
Rifle Police officers began pursuing, and observed the car speeding and running at least one red light.
Because it was late afternoon and children were in the area, the police called off the chase out of safety and caught up with Anderson when he parked at a motel.
Judge Terry Ruckriegle, a fill-in judge for Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, said the incident indicated Anderson showed an inability to control oneself.
“When I see the picture of you passing this school bus on a double line, I wonder, what the hell is going on in that person’s head to do that?” Ruckreigle said.
Anderson told the judge that he has matured greatly in recent months, has a job and community in Montrose and no longer drives.
“I made my decision, and I’m paying for it now. I ask for a little bit of leniency to help me grow and prosper in life,” Anderson said.
Prosecutor Zac Parsons said hopefully the threat of prison will encourage Anderson to avoid criminal behavior. The sentencing would be different if there were injuries, Parsons added.
“We are in a positive situation given that no one was hurt,” he said.
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The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is taking the lead in trying to close a gaping hole in the investigation of crimes in the upper Roaring Fork Valley by purchasing license plate-reading cameras likely to be used at the chokepoint entry and exits to Aspen.