Drunk driver in Aspen prompts felony charge
A 33-year-old man was charged with felony assault Thursday after allegedly attempting to stop another man from driving drunk in downtown Aspen.
On Friday, Aspen prosecutor Andrea Bryan acknowledged that mitigating factor in Justin Schaaf’s arrest — as well as the fact that he has regularly shown up in court to deal with other cases against him — and asked a District Court judge to set a $1,000 bond for him instead of the $5,000 bond normally set for a felony assault charge.
Bryan said she knows the 60-year-old victim in the case because he’s been around the Pitkin County Courthouse in recent weeks.
“I have no doubt he was very intoxicated at the time (of Schaaf’s assault),” Bryan said in court.
District Judge Chris Seldin ordered Schaaf held in lieu of a $750 cash or surety bond.
The incident that caused Schaaf’s arrest occurred at the fire pit near the corner of South Mill Street and East Cooper Avenue at 7:24 p.m.
One witness told police he saw a group of kids surrounding a vehicle shouting, “You’re drunk,” according to a police report filed in court. He also said he saw a man dressed in black break off the car’s antenna.
Another witness said he saw the kids “banging and rocking” the car and accusing the driver inside of being drunk, the report states.
The driver then got out of the car, walked toward the fire pit and flung a backpack toward a group of people at the fire pit, the first witness told police. Thinking the driver was intoxicated, that witness grabbed the keys from the car when the driver exited, the report states.
At that point, the first witness said the driver was “bum-rushed” and pushed toward the fire pit, hitting his head on the fire pit’s metal frame, according to the police report. The kids fled at that point, and the driver got up and left as well, the witness told police.
The other witness said he saw a man he knew as Justin push the driver from behind, the report states.
One of the witnesses identified Schaaf as the man who pushed the driver, and he was arrested.
Meanwhile, a third witness told police the driver was nearby “arguing with people,” the report states. Officers found him at Rubey Park with a “very deep laceration right down the center of his upper forehead toward his right eye.”
The driver said he was attacked at the fire pit while attempting to give a backpack to a person there. He eventually allowed paramedics to treat him and transport him to Aspen Valley Hospital, where a doctor later classified the wound as a “serious bodily injury,” the report states.
In addition to the assault charge, Schaaf also was charged with criminal mischief.
Micheal Keefe, 22, the man who allegedly broke the antenna on the driver’s car, also was arrested.
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