Alleged suicidal Aspen man lashes out in court
The Aspen Times
An Aspen Highlands man who allegedly led police on a short chase up Maroon Creek Road on Friday lashed out against law enforcement officials, his mother and everyone within earshot at the Pitkin County Courthouse on Monday afternoon.
At one point during the bond hearing for James R. Regan, 24, he turned around and pointed toward Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, sheriff’s deputies and Aspen police, glaring at them and shouting obscenities. DiSalvo had testified earlier that Regan had threatened to kill deputies and Aspen police officers at the scene of his arrest early Friday morning, about two miles from the Aspen School District campus.
“This is absolutely f—ing ridiculous and I cannot f—ing stand this any longer,” Regan said in open court. Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols admonished him and told him to calm down.
Prior to the outburst, Regan’s mother asked Nichols not to reduce the $100,000 cash-surety bond Nichols had set for him Friday after he’d been apprehended. She told the court that Regan was addicted to methamphetamine — a habit she said he picked up recently while working on an oil rig in New Mexico — and that she was concerned about his safety and mental well-being.
“He’s highly addicted, but not because he wants to be, but because he needs help,” she said. “Please do not let him out, because he will kill himself if he is released.”
A Glenwood Springs resident, his mother also told the court that Regan had been verbally abused as a child by another family member, suggesting that the abuse might be partly to blame for his mental state and recent actions.
Aspen prosecutor Andrea Bryan argued that Regan’s actions Friday and in the courtroom just minutes earlier proved that the $100,000 bond amount shouldn’t be reduced and that he is a danger to himself and the community.
Bryan said Regan’s actions and comments on Friday were “erratic, dangerous, unpredictable” and incoherent, as evidenced by the outbursts in the courtroom, as well.
“That’s why you should have just killed me when you had the f—ing chance,” he shouted toward Bryan and law enforcement personnel after Bryan spoke of his alleged actions on Friday.
Nichols said the case for keeping the bond amount high appeared to be valid. She told Regan that the $100,000 bond would remain intact for the time being but that that didn’t mean he wouldn’t earn release eventually. She set his next court appearance for Oct. 7.
As deputies led him out of the courtroom, Regan continued to curse at police and others in the room, shouting, “Don’t look at me!” and “Thanks for ruining my life!”
Early in the proceeding, public defender Sara Steele argued that the $100,000 bond was too high and asked that Regan be released on a personal-recognizance bond. She noted that Regan grew up in Carbondale and has longtime connections to community, minimizing his flight risk.
Regan, she said, won’t be able to bond out of jail unless it is reduced. He was hoping to land a job before the winter ski season, she said, and has plans to sell his car and purchase a truck.
According to Pitkin County Jail records, Regan faces the following charges: vehicular eluding, reckless driving, speeding and obstructing a police officer.
During Friday’s incident, the Aspen School District campus was placed on lockout status for 15 minutes, between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m.
More than an hour before the arrest, local emergency dispatchers began receiving calls from a man who said he was armed and anticipating a confrontation with law enforcement, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. The man said he was at several locations, and Aspen Police Department and Sheriff’s Office personnel began a search around Aspen and unincorporated portions of Pitkin County. They were assisted by officers from the Basalt and Snowmass Village police departments.
Authorities located the man around 8 a.m. about two miles up Maroon Creek Road. Once they reached him across from Aspen Highlands, he drove farther up Maroon Creek Road. Authorities said he eventually stopped and got out of the car.
When he ignored the commands of officers, they used beanbag rounds to subdue him and took him into custody, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
No firearms were found at the scene, but police did discover a knife, authorities said.
Hilaree Nelson, one of the world’s most acclaimed big-mountain skiers, went missing on Monday while in Nepal on an expedition in Mount Manaslu.
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