High Country Crime: Parachute family held hostage | SummitDaily.com

High Country Crime: Parachute family held hostage

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

On Tuesday, a Parachute police officer responded to a call from a woman who said her ex-husband had threatened to kill her and her sister. When the officer made contact with the woman by phone, she said her ex-husband had made such threats because she had called his probation officer to advise that he was intoxicated.

He threatened to shoot her, her sister, himself and police if officers had arrived at the residence.

The woman's sister, who was diagnosed with cancer and had trouble walking, had locked herself in her room to avoid the suspect.

The officer wrote in court documents that he tried to reach the woman's sister but that she had refused to answer because if the suspect had heard her communicating with police, he would get violent. In the documents, the officer says he asked the woman if she could leave and go for a walk and ultimately meet with police. She said no, as she was disabled and the suspect would be suspicious and prohibit her from leaving the house. The officer then turned over communication with a hostage negotiation team, which was able to remove the woman's sister from the home.

The officer wrote in court documents that he tried to reach the woman’s sister but that she had refused to answer because if the suspect had heard her communicating with police, he would get violent.

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The 51-year-old suspect was ordered out of the home, according to court documents, and placed into custody. An officer says the suspect smelled of alcohol and that he had threatened the officer on the way to Garfield County Jail. The officer found there were three protection orders, restraining the suspect from contact with his ex-wife. One order stated that he is restrained from "assaulting, threatening, abusing, harassing, following or stalking the protected person." The second protective order says he is restrained from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages and controlled substances and must stay away from the protected person's home, school, and place of employment.

"Because (he) threatened (her), was at (her) residence and was under the influence of alcohol he was in violation of the restraining orders," the documents say. He is charged with domestic violence, two counts of harassment, violation of restraining orders, menacing and false imprisonment.

-Tatiana Flowers, Glenwood Springs Post-Independent

Aspen mom arrested on Mother's Day for DUI, child abuse

A Pitkin County woman sentenced to jail and probation late last year for breaking into her neighbor's house for drugs was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs on Mother's Day with her son in the car, according to court documents.

Leslee Francis, 54, was charged with felony DUI — she allegedly has three previous drunken-driving convictions — and misdemeanor child abuse/negligence after she failed roadside sobriety tests in front of her Aspen home, according to an affidavit filed by Aspen police in Pitkin County District Court.

Emergency dispatchers received a call about Francis' driving just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday, when a caller reported she was "weaving all over" near the roundabout in her Lexus SUV, the affidavit states. The caller also reported seeing the Lexus hit a median between the golf course and the roundabout, tailgate another vehicle and eventually cut the vehicle off.

The caller also reported seeing a child in the car, according to the affidavit. Police met Francis at her home, saw her 13-year-old son exit the car and asked her if she would perform the roadside tests. Francis protested that it was Mother's Day, she'd had nothing to drink and had plans with her family, the affidavit states.

A preliminary breath test indicated Francis had not been drinking alcohol, though her failure to pass the sobriety tests, constricted pupils and reports of her alleged reckless driving led Aspen police officers to arrest her. Francis insisted she hadn't taken drugs, though she had a pill bottle in her purse that contained three different anti-depressants, ibuprofen and another non-narcotic drug, according to the affidavit.

"Francis told me the bottle of pills was her 'travel bottle,'" the affidavit states.

Francis was convicted of driving while ability impaired in August 2001, DUI in December 2006 and DUI in August 2016, according to the affidavit.

She pleaded guilty to felony trespassing in August after being caught on video surveillance entering a neighbor's home and admitting to taking seven pills used to treat high blood pressure.

District Judge Chris Seldin sentenced her to 60 days in jail and three years of probation in November for the incident. At her sentencing, she apologized to her son and said she had "an addiction problem" and wanted to get better.

Seldin on Monday ordered her held in lieu of a $2,500 bond.

-Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times

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