A California man allegedly punched another man Monday night at the Mountain House hotel and then spit on an Aspen police officer as he was being arrested, according to police.
Later in the Pitkin County Jail, Louie Arthur Alvarado, 36, of San Pedro, Calif., caused a ruckus, police said, trying to kick jailers and even spitting on one, leading jail staff to put him in a restraint chair.
Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols advised Alvarado on Tuesday that he faces one felony charge of second-degree assault on a police officer and four misdemeanor charges: two counts of third-degree assault and one count each of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She set bond at $5,000, but as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, he still was in custody in the local jail.
The felony charge relates to the spitting incident at the jail, Nichols told Alvarado. She read the state’s definition of the charge as “to infect, injure, harm, harass or threaten a person” in a detention facility who is known to be an employee of it.
“You caused such employee to become in contact with saliva,” Nichols said. She added that a conviction on the charge does not carry a mandatory prison term, but it does call for a two- to six-year sentence, or as little as one year under mitigating circumstances or as much as 12 years under aggravating circumstances.
Alvarado told police he is a paranoid schizophrenic. He said he came to Aspen for a vacation with his mother, Kay, who was in the courtroom for the advisement.
“We were just passing through,” he told Nichols. “I don’t even remember what happened. All I know is I was sitting in a bar, and then I woke up in a chair, strapped down.”
Assistant District Attorney Steve Mallory said Alvarado has a lengthy criminal record, including a 2002 attempted- murder charge that involved a plea bargain in which Alvardo was declared “mentally incompetent.”
Kay Alvarado sobbed at times during the proceeding, saying she needed her son to be released from jail so that he could drive her back to California.
“We were just traveling through town,” she told Nichols. “He did go to the bar and get drunk.” The judge cut off her statement, noting that the prosecution could use certain comments about the case against him.
Kay Alvarado pleaded for an arrangement that would allow her son to post bond and leave the state so that he could drive her home before she misses work.
Nichols said such an arrangement would require the approval of the prosecutor and the alleged assault victim, but that she would consider it sometime this week. A typical condition of release on bond is the requirement that the accused individual remain within the state.
An affidavit in support of warrantless arrest, which Aspen policeman Kirk Wheatley wrote, describes the events of Monday night, when local emergency dispatchers received a 10:35 p.m. report of an assault at the Mountain House, at 909 E. Hopkins Ave. Wheatley and four other Aspen police officers responded to the call.
A man attempted to run past one of the officers to enter the Mountain House, Wheatley wrote. He then said something to the effect of, “That’s the man hitting people,” according to the affidavit, and pointed at Alvarado.
Wheatley and Officer Dave Rosselot then contacted Alvarado and his mother inside the hotel lobby.
“Kay Alvarado stated that she and Louie Alvarado were walking back to the hotel and believed that (the man and another woman) were following them,” the affidavit says. “Kay Alvarado said Louie Alvarado went after (the man and woman), but knocked her over instead.”
Louie Alvarado was uncooperative throughout the investigation, Wheatley’s narrative continues. When Aspen Police Sgt. Chip Seamans told him he was under arrest, “Alvarado stood up, raised his arms, clinched his fist, squared back his shoulders and told (Seamans) he was not going in handcuffs,” the affidavit says.
The officers soon were able to subdue him so that he could be handcuffed, the report states.
Alvarado used profanities toward the two policemen and “spit saliva” on Seamans, and later, at the jail, Alvarado “ultimately spit on Pitkin County Deputy Roger Ryan,” a full-time jail employee, the report says.
Before the police call, Alvarado allegedly punched the man he thought was following him, using a closed fist, police said.
Alvarado’s next court appearance is set for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 16.