Fight in Vail bar puts man back behind bars |

Fight in Vail bar puts man back behind bars

EAGLE COUNTY — Matthew Knetzer admitted in court to breaking into vehicles and stealing things.

Four days later, he was back in jail after he allegedly got in a bar fight and spit on a Vail police officer and a firefighter. That alleged act is a felony, and Knetzer remains a guest in the Eagle County Crossbar Hotel.

Last May, Vail police watched as Knetzer and his roommate, Chris Wiens, were caught on security video breaking into vehicles in Vail’s Middle Creek apartment complex. The two were arrested and charged with theft, among other things.

Knetzer, 21, pleaded guilty early last week in District Judge Paul Dunkelman’s court.

By last Friday, he was back in Vail police custody.

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Disturbance at Evergreen

At about 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 24, Knetzer was creating a disturbance in a bar in Vail’s Evergreen Lodge.

When police arrived on the scene, he was screaming obscenities and thrashing against the citizens who were trying to restrain him. After Vail police arrived, it took four officers to handcuff Knetzer and put him into the police car, according to the arrest affidavit.

It took five officers to move Knetzer safely into the cell and remove his handcuffs. As soon as he was locked in, he began hitting his head against the cell door, police said.

After that, police moved him to a bench and handcuffed him to the bench in their main cell. Knetzer spit at the back of officer Chad Henninger’s head as he was walking away, hitting both Henninger and Vail firefighter James Rabidue.

Shawn Hogan manages the Vail bar and restaurant and told officers Knetzer had been acting “odd.” Knetzer said his ex-girlfriend was there, and when he started moving toward her, another woman eased him away. A man moved in and tried to calm the situation and Knetzer allegedly pushed him against a wall, breaking a $100 lamp.

Other patrons jumped in and restrained Knetzer until police arrived.

In court earlier this week, Knetzer told Eagle County Court Judge Katharine Sullivan, “I have a drinking problem, is really what it is,” and that he was hoping for a personal recognizance bond.

Sullivan didn’t see it that way and set his bond at $20,000. He’s charged with second degree assault, second degree assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest.

Knetzer is originally from Topeka, Kansas.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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