A Glendale man charged in Summit County District Court with racially motivated assault pleaded not guilty Monday, Jan. 27, during a disposition hearing before Chief Judge Mark Thompson.
Richard Brian Toms, 46, is charged with one count each of second-degree assault, a Class 4 felony; biased motivated crime, a Class 5 felony; criminal attempt to commit robbery, a Class 5 felony; and tampering with physical evidence, a Class 6 felony. Toms also faces two counts of harassment and one count of driving while under restraint, both misdemeanors.
The charges against Toms stem from an alleged altercation in March 2013 with a Colorado Mountain Express shuttle driver, according to an arrest warrant requested by the Silverthorne Police Department.
On March 21, 2013, a Colorado Mountain Express driver was transporting customers from Eagle County to Denver International Airport. Interstate 70 was closed due to weather and the driver pulled into a Pizza Hut parking lot in Silverthorne to wait for the highway to reopen.
While parked in the lot, the Colorado Mountain Express driver exited to clean snow and ice off of the shuttle. Toms pulled in a few moments later driving a white Chevrolet truck. As he drove past the Colorado Mountain Express shuttle, Toms allegedly rolled down his window and yelled racial slurs at the shuttle driver, in addition to criticizing where the man decided to park the shuttle, according to court records.
The shuttle driver, who hails from West Africa, initially shrugged off the incident, records stated, but Toms allegedly circled back to his location and again yelled at the Colorado Mountain Express driver. After the second round of verbal assaults, the driver snapped a photo of Toms’ license plate with his phone.
Toms apparently saw the shuttle driver take the photo of his vehicle. He parked his truck and confronted the shuttle driver, demanding the man hand over his phone. When the shuttle driver refused, Toms allegedly pushed the man into the shuttle, the force of which broke one of the shuttle driver’s ribs, according to the arrest affidavit.
When questioned about the incident days later, Toms said he arrived at the Pizza Hut first and parked his truck in the lot while he and his son ate at the restaurant. When they returned to his vehicle, Toms said, the Colorado Mountain Express driver had boxed him in with his shuttle. When he asked the man to move the shuttle, the driver was uncooperative, Toms told investigators.
Toms is represented by Colorado Springs attorney Allen Gasper. Deputy district attorney John Franks is prosecuting Toms.
The presumptive sentencing schedule for a Class 4 felony is two to six years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, one to three years for a Class 5 felony and one year to 18 months for a Class 6 felony, according to Colorado Revised Statutes.
A five-day jury trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 23.