Highway 82 road rage case ends in plea deal
August 16, 2011
ASPEN – An El Jebel man copped a deal with prosecutors Monday that included him pleading guilty to one misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment in exchange for the dismissal of a felony weapons menacing count in connection to a road rage incident.
Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols ordered Remington Dustin Way, 28, to serve 15 hours of public service and sentenced him to one year of unsupervised probation.
The disposition puts an end to a case in which Way was accused of pointing a semi-automatic handgun in the direction of another vehicle on Highway 82 on Feb. 22. Way’s attorney, Lawson Wills of Snowmass Village, contended he made some mistakes in judgment the morning in question, but he did not draw a gun.
“It’s early in the morning, and he gets into it with another car,” Wills said in court Monday. “There’s a lot of fault on both sides but the other side walks cleanly away from this and he’s the one with a felony charge.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin conceded that “there never really was a claim of an actual threat, but an allegation that a gun was displayed.”
Pitkin County deputies arrested Way after they received a call that a man driving a red Nissan pickup truck had pointed a handgun at another car near the intersection of Highway 82 and Basalt Avenue, according to an arrest warrant affidavit and previous courtroom testimony from Pitkin County Sheriff’s investigator Brad Gibson and deputy Alex Burchetta.
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Gibson and Burchetta said they located Way’s home after they ran a check on his license-plate number, which was provided to authorities by the reporting party. When deputies arrived two blocks from the home, they saw Way drive the Nissan onto El Jebel Road, and pulled him over on Highway 82 just east of the intersection at Lower Willits Road.
Later that day, deputies searched Way’s home, with his permission. They discovered a semi-automatic handgun loaded with one round and a full magazine, an affidavit says.
Wills contended that because handgun was found two hours after the incident, there was no way to tell that Way allegedly pointed the gun at the other vehicle.
Judge Nichols agreed.
“I’m accepting that you didn’t use the gun because the proof isn’t there,” she said.
Way expressed remorse over the incident.
“I deeply apologize for the altercation with the other vehicle and looking back I could have handled it a little differently,” he said.