No bond reduction for N.M. man held in attack on driver

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A judge last week refused to reduce the bond for a passenger accused of attacking a Greyhound bus driver Jan. 6 in Glenwood Springs.

Agapito Valencia, 48, of Albuquerque, N.M., faces charges including second-degree assault of an at-risk victim with a deadly weapon. Police allege he used a heavy, metal lock to hit bus driver James Mannison of Fruita and another man.

A Glenwood Springs police affidavit said Valencia directed an obscenity at Mannison during a verbal altercation between them, and Mannison told him he wouldn’t be allowed to continue riding the bus. Valencia then followed Mannison to the restroom at the Tomahawk Truck Stop in west Glenwood Springs and attacked him, breaking his nose, eye socket and eyeglasses, the affidavit said.

It said he then attacked another man who came to Mannison’s defense.

Police say Valencia staggered and showed other signs of alcohol use at the time he was arrested. At one point, he yelled to some Latinos that they should go back to Mexico and threatened to kill them, and during his booking, he voiced an obscenity about white people and said, “They’re the ones ruining this country, not the Hispanics,” the affidavit said.

During Valencia’s court appearance last week, deputy public defender Sara Steele sought to have his $15,000 bond reduced so he could attend a Christian program in Del Norte for treatment of his alcohol and anger-management problems.

“It’s addressing the underlying problems that he has and helping to ensure that something like this doesn’t ever happen again,” she said.

But Anne Norrdin, a deputy district attorney in the 9th Judicial District, said she and Mannison opposed the bond reduction, and Valencia has been written up in the Garfield County Jail for assaulting a cellmate.

District Court Senior Judge Thomas Ossola said it “augurs well” for Valencia that he has been accepted into the treatment program. But Ossola denied the bond reduction.

“It just as a practical matter strikes me as premature to address the treatment issues,” he said.

In an interview Thursday, Mannison said he tentatively is scheduled to return to work this week. He said he has been attacked before during his 32 years with Greyhound, but never suffered physical harm.

“This was by far the most serious attack,” he said.

He said he “absolutely” wants to see Valencia spend time behind bars. If convicted of the charges against him, Valencia likely would spend from 10 to 32 years in prison, Norrdin said.


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