Bond reduction denied for Aspen man James Regan, who allegedly threatened cops
October 23, 2013
A calmer James R. Regan appeared in Pitkin County District Court on Monday as his new attorney unsuccessfully sought to have his $100,000 bond reduced.
Regan, 24, of Aspen, has been held in the Pitkin County Jail for six weeks. He was arrested the morning of Sept. 13 after leading Pitkin County sheriff's deputies and Aspen police on a slow, short chase up Maroon Creek Road, an incident that led to a 15-minute lockdown of the nearby Aspen School District campus.
During Regan's initial court appearance three days later, Sheriff Joe DiSalvo recommended that Regan's bond remain high, telling Judge Gail Nichols that Regan had threatened to kill deputies and police officers during that confrontation.
Also at the Sept. 16 hearing, Regan's mother told the judge that her son was addicted to methamphetamine and that he needed to remain in jail for his own safety. Regan lashed out at police and others in open court that day, at one point shouting, "You should have just killed me when you had the f—ing chance."
Local defense attorney Mark Rubinstein has replaced the Public Defender's Office as Regan's counsel. Rubinstein argued Monday that Regan is a lifelong resident of the area, that he is a highly skilled worker who can land a job in the oil patch or a ski resort, and that prior to Sept. 13 he had no arrests as an adult.
Rubinstein said he doesn't think substance abuse is an issue, adding that Regan is willing to undergo a mental-health evaluation.
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"He's had quite a lengthy cooling-off period in the Pitkin County Jail," Rubinstein said.
Prosecutor Andrea Bryan argued against lowering the $100,000 bond, saying Regan represents a danger to himself and the community. She said nobody has any real idea about what triggered Regan's behavior last month, and she added that he has not cooperated with jail personnel with regard to scheduling an appointment for counseling.
Bryan also noted that the evidence against Regan involves a "deadly weapon" — on the day of his arrest, authorities said they found a knife.
But Rubinstein called Regan's actions a "one-time affair."
"Perhaps he was going through some personal issues that brought this on," Rubinstein said.
Nichols complimented Regan for his behavior Monday and also during a brief court appearance on Oct. 7 but said the allegations against him remain serious. He faces charges of vehicular eluding, reckless driving, speeding and obstructing a police officer.
"I appreciate the efforts you've made here," Nichols said.
She declined to lower Regan's bond and ordered him to submit to an evaluation by Minds Springs Health, a Western Slope provider of mental-wellness services. She said she would seek the recommendations of a counseling expert before revisiting the bond matter on Nov. 4.
Just before 7 a.m. on Sept. 13, 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 area law enforcement personnel began a search around Aspen and unincorporated portions of Pitkin County, the Sheriff's Office said.
Authorities located the man — later identified as Regan — 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, the Sheriff's Office said.
Officers from the Basalt and Snowmass Village police departments and emergency responders from Aspen Ambulance assisted with the Sept. 13 incident.
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