James Regan pleads guilty to vehicle eluding in slow-speed chase case

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

An Aspen man pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular eluding and obstruction of a police officer in connection to his Sept. 13 arrest on allegations that he took police on a slow, short chase up Maroon Creek Road, leading to a 15-minute lockdown of the nearby Aspen School District campus.

“I’d like to take responsibility for my actions and plead guilty,” James Regan, 24, told Judge Gail Nichols in Pitkin County District Court.

As part of a plea agreement arranged with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Regan will receive a two-year deferred judgment on his guilty plea to vehicular eluding, a Class 5 felony, the most severe charge levied against him.

The plea agreement is contingent that Regan, who was represented by Carbondale attorney Mark Rubinstein, participate in a mental-health court program.

While Regan wanted to go to immediate sentencing, Nichols noted she would need to see the pre-sentence investigation before approving the plea deal. She set Regan’s sentencing hearing for 1:45 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Regan has been in the custody of Pitkin County Jail on $100,000 bond since his arrest.

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, Regan, 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 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.

Staff writer Andre Salvail contributed to this report.