Glenwood man charged with spitting on deputy
August 24, 2011
ASPEN – A Glenwood Springs man surrendered to authorities Tuesday morning on allegations that he spit on a Pitkin County Jail deputy last month in a drunken tirade.
Dwight Morris Whitehead, 51, waived advisement to one felony count of second-degree assault on a police officer. He appeared in the chambers of Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols with his attorney Lawson Wills of Snowmass Village.
Nichols granted Whitehead a $5,000 public recognizance bond.
Tuesday’s developments come after Aspen police picked up an allegedly intoxicated Whitehead in the early morning of July 30, and brought him to Pitkin County Jail to sober up. At the time he did not face any criminal charges, but things changed.
At the jailhouse Whitehead apparently became unruly, leaving a water faucet running in the isolation room where he was held, according to an affidavit from Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy James Hearn.
Whitehead then clogged the room’s toilet with an article of his clothing and attempted to flush the toilet after urinating in it, the affidavit says. Then he yelled through the room’s locked door, telling police and deputies “Let’s get it on” and “it’ll take more than you four.”
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Authorities subsequently entered the now-flooded room to contain Whitehead, who was put into a restraining chair, the affidavit says. His alleged behavior prompted deputies to charge him with misdemeanor criminal tampering for flooding the isolation room and other areas of the jail. About an hour later, at 5:15 a.m., Deputy Walt Geister gave Whitehead a glass of water. In turn, Whitehead spit the water in Geister’s face, the affidavit says.
The alleged spitting incident prompted Hearn, on Aug. 15, to craft a warrant for the arrest of Whitehead on the assault offense. The misdemeanor tampering offense was dropped Aug. 1, but Mordkin said it’s likely he’ll refile that charge in the form of a criminal mischief count. Mordkin said he’s unsure whether it will be a misdemeanor or felony.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Wills said the jail incident “is well out of [Whitehead’s] normal behavior.” He added that “there may be some alcohol issues we need to address.”
Whitehead holds down a good job, Wills told the judge. He does, however, have deferred judgments from 2001 and 2004 – a domestic violence case in Rifle, and a vehicle-eluding case in Garfield County, respectively.