Idaho man avoids DUI in Aspen on technicality |

Idaho man avoids DUI in Aspen on technicality

Charles Agar
Aspen Correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” A technicality spared an Idaho man from a possible drunk driving conviction Friday in Pitkin County Court.

Jeremy Veasey, of Meridian, Idaho, was charged with drunk driving after he allegedly drove onto a crowded Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall in downtown Aspen in the early morning hours following St. Patrick’s Day in 2007.

His attorney, Dan Shipp, of Basalt, asked for a jury trial, but jurors only sat through part of the case before they were dismissed early Friday afternoon when Shipp discovered an error.

Officials with the district attorney’s office failed to provide a certification form for the police officer who had operated the Breathalyzer machine that officers use to measure the alcohol level in drunk driving suspects.

Attorneys excused the jury and settled the case.

Veasey pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving while ability impaired, an offense that resulted in an eight-point penalty on his license. He also pleaded guilty to a careless driving charge with a one-year deferred sentence.

Before the trial, Veasey voluntarily took drunk driving classes and underwent treatment.

A salesman in Idaho, Veasey said keeping his license was important to his work, and told the judge that he had only gone out that night to pick up some friends who were out.

He blew a 0.16 on the Breathalyzer (though his attorneys disputed the accuracy of the machine).

He also was sentenced to 24 hours of public service and ordered to pay $200 in fines.

Aspen police officers reported that on St. Patrick’s Day ” March 17, 2007 ” a silver SUV driven by Veasey turned onto the Hyman Avenue mall across from the Wheeler Opera House.

Officer Joe Holman, who was patrolling on foot, spotted the vehicle and stopped the man. Holman reported that the man failed to pass the roadside sobriety test and later blew a high blood alcohol reading at the Pitkin County jail.

“Human frailty is alive and well at the Aspen Police Department,” Shipp said in his opening arguments, claiming that there were not adequate signs to tell Veasey not to drive down the pedestrian mall. Shipp said that Aspen officers had fumbled their investigation and used a faulty Breathalyzer.

Shipp wouldn’t have to defend his client, however, as the attorneys settled the case shortly after 1 p.m.

“It’s a fair outcome,” said Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols, adding that it was Veasey’s first offense and that at least he’d pleaded guilty to a charged connected to drinking while driving.

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User