Affidavit: Suspect cites weeklong meth binge

Karl Carothers

A man whose alleged wild ride around Grand Junction on Wednesday saw him crashing into a police car said he’d used methamphetamine for about a week straight — not sleeping in as many days — and couldn’t remember what happened on Wednesday, according to an arrest affidavit.

Karl Carothers, 33, said Thursday when contacted by police he could have intentionally slammed into a police patrol car driven by Grand Junction officer Marshall Dixon on Wednesday, but he had no recollection of the episode. The alleged meth binge referenced by Carothers included use on Wednesday, according to the affidavit.

Carothers made his first appearance in court on Friday via video feed from the Mesa County Jail, where he was advised he could be charged with felony counts of second-degree assault on a peace officer and vehicular eluding and a misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle said prosecutors will file habitual criminal charges against Carothers and asked for—and was granted—a $50,000 cash-only bond.

“He presents as being very unstable, even by his own admission,” Tuttle said of Carothers.

Carothers’ public defender argued for a much lower bond, claiming a $50,000 cash-only bond effectively is the same as no bond. County Judge Craig Henderson, though, called the allegations against Carothers “very disturbing” and said he had to set a high bond “for community safety.”

According to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records, Carothers was arrested or ticketed 22 times in Colorado between 1998 and last month. All but two of the law enforcement encounters happened in Mesa County.

Police at 3:24 p.m. Wednesday started getting calls about a burnt-orange PT Cruiser, with temporary registration, speeding in excess of 100 mph along North Avenue at 28 Road, in the general area of Kmart, 2809 North Ave., according to Carothers’ affidavit.

A witness who encountered the driver at Kmart said the driver appeared “all jazzed up and wanted to take out or take down the police,” the affidavit said.

The Cruiser was observed peeling out from a parking lot onto 28 1/2 Road and heading south. Officers did not engage in a pursuit “due to the traffic violation failing to fall within department pursuit regulations,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

Dixon at 3:41 p.m. reported being sideswiped at 1226 Ute Ave., while the affidavit suggests the officer never saw the PT Cruiser approaching from behind despite hearing radio traffic about the vehicle. Dixon, traveling west on Ute Avenue with a prisoner in the back seat, was slowing while coming up to 12th Street. Another vehicle in front him was also braking. Six vehicles were in the left lane, nearby.

“Officer Dixon aired to Officer Simpson that he did not see the vehicle westbound on I-70B,” the affidavit said. “Immediately after airing this, a burnt orange Chrysler PT Cruiser collided with Officer Dixon’s front passenger quarter panel/tire area.”

The suspect vehicle “bounced off” the patrol car, “regained control and then continued at a high rate of speed westbound on Ute Avenue,” the affidavit said.

Neither Dixon or his prisoner were hurt. Damage included a broken passenger-side mirror and black-transfer paint.

On Thursday, a man in the 800 block of Elm Avenue reported a vehicle matching the Cruiser’s description was in the backyard of 834 Elm Ave. The vehicle was covered, had damage to its driver side and a blown tire, the affidavit said.

The Cruiser’s owner told police her granddaughter was supposed to be driving it. The affidavit said three witnesses told police they saw Carothers driving the Cruiser on Wednesday afternoon. One witness reported seeing Carothers around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. parking it in the backyard of 834 Elm Ave. and covering it.

The affidavit doesn’t explain why or how Carothers had access to the vehicle.

Carothers was positively identified as the driver by an eyewitness to Wednesday’s events, the affidavit said.

City Editor Mike Wiggins contributed to this report.


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