The case of a local man accused of leading authorities on a cross-county pursuit was bound over on all counts to the 22nd Judicial District Court following oral arguments in a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Montezuma County Court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence ruled there was sufficient evidence for the case of 41-year-old Edwin Scott Fulbright to continue before Chief Judge Douglas Walker.
In reference to Fulbrights vehicular eluding charge, Lawrence said there was ample evidence showing the defendant showed no regard for public safety.
Representing Fulbright, Public Defender Justin Bogan argued at the hearing evidence in the case is woefully insufficient. He said there was no testimony as to Fulbrights mental state at the time of the incident to know if he was aware of his actions at the time.
Bogan further contended there is no evidence to support bags of a white crystalline substance found at the scene of Fulbrights arrest have been proven to be methamphetamine. Further, Bogan said the substance was found two days after the arrest at an unsecured crime scene.
Lawrence said based on the suspicious circumstances of Fulbrights arrest alone, she would bind over the charge of possession of methamphetamine.
Montezuma County Sheriffs Office deputies testified in the first part of the preliminary hearing March 16, describing a harrowing high-speed, cross-county pursuit of a stolen vehicle in December 2010.
Deputies alleged a stolen Ford F-350 pickup driven by Fulbright reached estimated speeds of 115 mph, went off road, twice attempted to ram a deputys vehicle and was fired on by a deputy in an effort to stop the marauding truck.
The pursuit began north of Cortez and ended on Summit Ridge, resulting in the arrest of Fulbright, 41, who was charged with 12 counts, including motor vehicle theft, assault on a peace officer, vehicular eluding and possession of methamphetamine.
Sheriffs office Detective Lt. Ted Meador testified in Montezuma County Court that he was driving an unmarked vehicle in west Cortez on the afternoon of Dec. 15 when he spotted the truck with two occupants traveling faster than surrounding traffic. He said he remembered a vehicle matching that description being reported stolen from an implement dealers lot in Dove Creek.
Meador reported following the vehicle as he contacted dispatch, which reportedly confirmed the vehicle stolen. He said he radioed for marked law enforcement units to respond.
At the intersection of County Roads M and 26, a Colorado State Patrol cruiser and a marked Montezuma County Sheriffs Office vehicle converged on the stolen truck, Meador said.
As soon as the lights were activated, you could see the pickup accelerate at an extremely high rate of speed, he said.
Sheriffs office Sgt. Jonathan Clark testified that he followed the pickup, which he said turned south on County Road 26, where it accelerated to speeds exceeding 100 mph, turned west onto County Road L then north on Colorado Highway 145, where it weaved through traffic, passing vehicles on the shoulder of the highway before turning east on Road M.
Undersheriff Robin Cronk testified that he took the lead of the pursuit when the truck turned on Road M.
The vehicle turned east on M at a high rate of speed, Cronk said. (The driver) took it too fast for the vehicle, with no regard for the public.
Cronk said the vehicle proceeded down county roads, some of which were unpaved, at rates of speed between 45 and 115 mph, fishtailing on occasion.
The pursuit eventually led to Colorado Highway 184, Cronk said. The truck rocketed east toward Mancos, veering off onto the shoulder to narrowly miss a Colorado Division of Wildlife truck placed as an attempted road block.
The truck turned off on County Road 38, which dead ends. The suspect vehicle went off road into the mud and snow, plowing through trees and fences, Cronk said.
He alleged in testimony that at one point, the truck lost control, spun around 180 degrees and came at him head on. Cronk testified he had removed his seat belt at that point in anticipation of a foot pursuit and was only able to avoid a head-on collision by swerving to the left. The suspect truck came within an arms length of his vehicle.
Cronk said he then turned around, caught up to the truck, pulled alongside and fired his sidearm twice in an effort to disable the vehicles rear tire, missing both times.
The stolen truck, valued at $52,450, became wedged between two trees, and the pursuit of the apparent driver continued on foot. Clark and Cronk reported apprehending Fulbright at gunpoint after he was called out from behind some brush.
Both deputies testified that their dashboard video cameras were broken at the time and they were unable to record the chase.
Deputies testified to returning to the scene of the arrest two days later with a K-9 unit from the state patrol. They alleged the dog was able to locate four bags of a substance believed to be methamphetamine near where Fulbright was arrested.
Meador said the area where the chase ended was not sealed off as a crime scene between the arrest and the time the substance was allegedly found.
The female passenger of the stolen truck was not charged in the incident.
Representing Fulbright, public defender David Kraut declined to comment on the defendants behalf.
Fulbright is being held in the Montezuma County Detention Center.
Reach Reid Wright at [email protected]