Teens charged in scuffle
EAGLE – Prosecutors decided Tuesday to charge two Eagle teenagers in a scuffle with educators outside a basketball game at Eagle Valley High School last month. One of the two 17-year-old boys – whose identities have been withheld because they are juveniles – has been charged with misdemeanor menacing, third degree assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. The other faces disorderly conduct and harassment charges, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. All charges are misdemeanors.If they are convicted, the two juveniles could spend up to two years in a juvenile detention center.”Looking at all the evidence, we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hurlbert said.The teenagers’ parents – whose identities are also being withheld to keep their sons anonymous – accuse the educators of starting the scuffle.”The boys were defending themselves,” one parent said. But Hurlbert said witness testimony doesn’t support the students’ claims and the educators, therefore, were not charged. “We got both versions,” Hurlbert said. “We have reviewed testimony of witnesses who said it was the teachers attacking. We reviewed the witnesses statements and felt we couldn’t meet the burden against the teachers.”The educators involved, Robert Cuevas, a teacher at Eagle Valley High School, and Athletics Director Dave Scott, told Eagle County sheriff’s deputies that the teens became belligerent when they were told to leave a Feb. 11 basketball game that one of the boys had not paid to get into.One of the boys told the deputies he hadn’t paid to get in the game. The boy also said he pushed Scott when he saw him fighting with his friend. Then, he said, Cuevas jumped on him, hit him and banged his head on the ground twice.Scott told the deputies he told the boy to leave if he wasn’t going to pay. Scott said the boy then cursed at him. It’s school policy to remove any problem students from the campus, Scott told investigators. Scott escorted the boys out and when they were leaving, one kicked a trash can while the other shouted obscenities at the teachers, Scott told police. He said one of the boys charged him, shoving and punching at him. Scott then brought the boy down.When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the school that night, the deputies saw Scott on the ground with one of the boys, whom he had immobilized in a headlock. Cuevas was on his knees, straddling the other boy’s upper body, holding his head and hair with his hands, deputies said. No one was arrested after the incident, but deputies issued trespassing notices to both students.The parent of the other accused boy admitted the boys may have behaved badly, but said he didn’t understand the educators’ reactions. “I can understand escorting, but not thrown to the ground,” he said. “I’m a realist and I understand my son shouldn’t have been talking back to the teachers and trying to get back into the game if he didn’t pay.”Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vail, Colorado
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