Lessons in how not to commit a crime | AspenTimes.com

Lessons in how not to commit a crime

Steve Benson

Two local men became examples of what not to do following separate run-ins with the law over the weekend. Our first lesson comes from El Jebel, where a self-proclaimed black belt in karate received a ride to the slammer – in the buff. It all began shortly after midnight Monday when Eagle County Sheriff’s Deputy David Lawson overheard a report of a red Ford Ranger driving recklessly near the City Market in El Jebel. Lawson was only a block away when he heard the call, and seconds later, he said, “a red Ford Ranger pickup with two flat tires came flying out of City Market.” Lawson turned on his emergency lights, which prompted the suspect, later identified as 20-year-old Brian Reed, of Basalt, to try and outrun him. “He hit a curb with the truck and then jumped from the vehicle and took off toward Sopris Village,” Lawson said. Lawson pursued Reed on foot and caught up to him as he attempted to leap an 8-foot fence into someone’s back yard. As it turned out, that someone was former Aspen Police Officer Chet Zajac.”He almost got completely over, but I grabbed his ankle and tried to pull him back over when the fence started snapping,” Lawson said. “The next thing I know, a citizen had jumped from his vehicle and was climbing the fence trying to help me.” With the fence crumbling, Reed fell to the other side. Lawson was about to follow him when he heard a loud splash and a voice. “I heard someone say, ‘Don’t jump the fence here, there’s a swimming pool,'” Lawson said. The warning came from a good Samaritan, who left the scene before Lawson could thank him. “He saved me from going into the pool,” Lawson said. Lawson said he climbed to the top of the fence and “saw the suspect swimming in the pool.” At about the same time, Basalt Police showed up and Zajac emerged from his house to assist, and they all began persuading Reed to get out of the pool. “We coaxed him to the side of the pool, grabbed his shirt, and we yanked him out,” Lawson said. “But as we were removing him from the pool, his clothing was removed with him.” But the suddenly naked Reed didn’t give up. “He’s saying he’s a Navy Seal and a black belt in karate, and he’s going to kill everybody,” Lawson said, adding that he was immediately placed in handcuffs. It was Reed’s third arrest for eluding a police officer. He was also charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence, felony criminal mischief and driving under a revoked driver’s license. He was taken to the Eagle County jail. Our next little lesson is simple: Don’t steal a car, especially if it’s your neighbor’s and you’re drunk. A Basalt man was arrested for auto theft, driving under the influence and driving a vehicle without a valid license after allegedly stealing his neighbor’s car from the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park Sunday afternoon. “He stole it from right in front of their house,” said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Justin Mitchell. After the man, in an apparent drunken haze, took the car, he crashed it about four miles up Cattle Creek Road, Mitchell said. “He was still sitting in the vehicle. He was very intoxicated but conscious,” Mitchell said. “It was a very, very slow speed accident – it was kind of like he just fell off the road.” Mitchell said the man, who was not injured, had a blood alcohol count of .174. “He was not the smartest car thief in the world,” he said. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com

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