Old Snowmass man arrested for second DUI in a month
An Old Snowmass man was arrested Saturday for his second DUI in a month, according to police reports.
Both arrests occurred at about the same time of day and featured similar sets of circumstances, which included transporting Lynn Patzoldt, the driver, to the hospital both times for medical issues, according to the reports.
Patzoldt, 55, was charged with drunken driving and careless driving Saturday. He faces another DUI charge as well as felony cocaine possession from the previous arrest Sept. 28.
Saturday’s incident began at about 5:45 p.m., when the Basalt Police Department received a REDDI report about “a very intoxicated” Patzoldt leaving Ho Palace, a Chinese restaurant in Basalt, according to the report. A Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy encountered the car a minute or two later on Highway 82 near Hoagland Ranch Road.
The deputy turned around, followed Patzoldt and attempted to pull him over when he saw Patzoldt’s rented Ford sedan weaving and driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone, the report states. Patzoldt, however, continued driving down the highway for another quarter-mile, then turned right on to Snowmass Creek Road, where he proceeded along at about 15 mph, according to the report.
Patzoldt then turned left behind the Snowmass Conoco and continued driving at an even slower speed until finally pulling over, the deputy wrote in his report. Patzoldt denied being at Ho Palace, and the deputy initially didn’t smell alcohol on him, the report states.
However, when Patzoldt exited his car, he was “extremely unsteady” on his feet and smelled of alcohol, according to the report. Patzoldt told the deputy he is diabetic and has heart problems, which caused the deputy to think the alcohol smell might have something to do with his diabetes.
“I became a little more worried about Patzoldt’s health,” Deputy Brad Gibson wrote.
Gibson eventually stopped administering roadside sobriety tests because Patzoldt was so unsteady on his feet he was concerned for his physical safety. Gibson arrested him for DUI, but because of concerns about his health transported him to Aspen Valley Hospital instead, the report states. Once cleared by doctors, Gibson took Patzoldt to jail.
“Even with the passage of time in the jail, the interior of (Gibson’s) car still reeked of the odor of an alcoholic beverage from Patzoldt,” the report states.
Patzoldt’s arrest Sept. 28 occurred after a Basalt police officer saw him weaving and behaving strangely while fueling his car at a gas station in Basalt at about 4:40 p.m., according to that police report. When the officer approached him and asked if Patzoldt was alright, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol and noticed slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes. Patzoldt said he’d had a few drinks that morning, the report states.
Patzoldt was, again, unsteady on his feet when he exited his car and appeared to have urinated on himself, the report states. He later fell into a patch of grass during sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI.
Sgt. Aaron Munch then asked Patzoldt if he could move his car away from the gas pump to a safe location and Patzoldt agreed, the report states. However, when Munch sat in the driver’s seat, he noticed a clear baggie of what later tested positive for cocaine in the driver’s door, according to the report.
That development caused Patzoldt to become upset and start crying, though he became quiet on the way to a nearby police station. But as they neared the station, Patzoldt suddenly yelled, “Russia,” which prompted Munch to fear for Patzoldt’s health and he called an ambulance.
Patzoldt was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital by paramedics, the report states.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”