No prison for felony drunken driver |

No prison for felony drunken driver

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

A 54-year-old Aspen woman with a history of alcohol-related arrests pleaded guilty Monday to felony drunken driving.

Kari Aaeng, who received the felony-level charge because her latest arrest was at least her fourth DUI, would have faced between two and six years in prison for the plea. However, Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan agreed to recommend only probation when Aaeng is sentenced this summer.

Aspen police stopped Aaeng at around noon in late February after a 16-year-old family member called police and reported that Aaeng struck her in the face, according to a police report. Aaeng at first didn’t pull over when an officer turned on his emergency lights, though she did finally stop after a few blocks, the report states.

She first told police she consumed a pint of vodka and then changed that estimate to a half-pint before declining to take sobriety tests. Aaeng appeared disoriented and confused, and she told an officer she thought she’d be going to prison.

“I’ve had four DUIs,” she said to the officer.

The officer’s report said Aaeng had been arrested seven previous times on suspicion of alcohol-related offenses. However, Bryan said Monday she could only find evidence of three DUIs, though there may have been a fourth.

Aaeng was convicted of DUI for a February 1990 arrest in Boulder, a March 1999 arrest in Eagle County and a March 2004 arrest in Lake County, Bryan said.

Richard Nedlin, Aaeng’s attorney, said his client would be leaving later this week for inpatient treatment at a facility in Minnesota. She is scheduled to be sentenced in August after she returns.

Charges of child abuse and assault were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

In other court news

A former chef at a Snowmass on-mountain restaurant pleaded guilty to felony menacing Monday for threatening to stab a waiter in February.

Robert McConnell, 32, of Carbondale, would have faced between one and three years in prison for the crime, though Bryan said she agreed not to seek jail in the case. In addition, McConnell will receive a deferred judgment and sentence, meaning that if he stays out of trouble for the term of his probation, the charge will be wiped from his record.

McConnell worked at the Lynn Britt Cabin near the Spider Sabich Race Arena and got into a disagreement with the waiter over food being delivered to the wrong table, according to a police report. During the disagreement, McConnell held up a knife and threatened to stab the waiter.