Bond was set at $1 million Tuesday in Montezuma County Court for Mancos resident Casey D. Larsen, 59, who is under investigation for multiple felony charges, including attempted second-degree murder, after a 50-mile car chase Sunday.
District Attorney Will Furse said Larsen attempted to murder at least two Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Sunday, attempted to swerve head-on with Mancos Marshal Justen Goodall and came within about 5 feet of hitting a Colorado State Patrol trooper who was on foot. Larsen reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, officers said.
“The defendant’s conduct that day cannot be understated as an utter danger to law enforcement,” Furse told the court.
Larsen, in his first court appearance, appeared by video in a jail jumpsuit from a cell at Montezuma County Detention Center. He has blonde hair and a large mustache. An MCSO records employee stated Tuesday that Larsen’s booking was still in progress and no mugshot was available.
Furse requested a two-week continuance Tuesday as the case is bound over to 22nd Judicial District Court. He said he is waiting on reports from Colorado State Patrol, the Mancos Marshal’s Office, Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office before filing charges.
The only report referenced in court comes from MCSO Deputy Donnie Brown. He filed an affidavit on Monday recounting some of the events of the March 10 incident and laid out four felony charges law enforcement suspect Larsen committed.
As reflected in the affidavit, Furse said his office was considering charges of second-degree attempted murder, a Class 3 felony, and attempted vehicular homicide, a Class 5 felony.
“There will be a host of other felony charges that include vehicular eluding and other allegations based upon his conduct behind the wheel,” Furse said in an interview after the court hearing.
Montezuma County Judge JenniLynn Lawrence said Larsen faces a maximum prison sentence of 12 years and a fine of up to $750,000 on the charge of second-degree attempted murder, but because he is considered an “extraordinary risk” offender, the prison sentence could be extended to 16 years.
Furse said the case began as an investigation of burglaries near Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores County. He said Larsen’s silver 1994 Chevy van was of interest to law enforcement and upon contact, Larsen eluded officers.
Larsen then drove through the town of Dolores, eastbound on Colorado Highway 184 to Mancos and westbound on U.S. Highway 160 toward Cortez. Furse said Larsen attempted to kill two MCSO deputies who were setting up spike strips on the Dolores River bridge on the southwestern edge of Dolores. Both deputies both jumped off the bridge and fell about 15 feet, suffering broken bones.
“The defendant has made his way out of the hospital, but unfortunately Deputy Martin still is in the hospital,” Furse told the court.
Deputy recruit David Martin, 22, suffered compression fractures in his back and shattered his left ankle, Furse said. He is in the hospital awaiting surgery and will be off-duty for some time.
Deputy John Haynes, 45, suffered a fractured tibia in his leg, and was released from the hospital, Furse said. He is unable to perform his law enforcement duties.
The affidavit from Brown states Larsen veered his van “completely across two lanes of traffic” toward Martin and Haynes and tried to hit them.
According to the affidavit, Goodall stated Larsen swerved into his traffic lane on Colorado 184, nearly hitting him head-on. Goodall stated Larsen’s van then jumped the median in the town of Mancos and drove into oncoming traffic, nearly striking a Colorado State Trooper who was on foot deploying spike strips.
The chase came to an end on the 32000 block of U.S. Highway 160, just east of the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, after a Colorado State Patrol trooper took the lead in the pursuit. According to a report from Goodall, the trooper stopped the van with a “tactical vehicle intervention.”
Brown’s affidavit stated he saw Larsen’s van veer into the eastbound lane and then to the westbound lane. It then made a hard left turn and went nose-first into a ditch on the eastbound side of the road and flipped onto its passenger side.
During Larsen’s first court appearance on Tuesday, Furse argued for a $1 million bond, citing Larsen’s alleged attempt to kill several law enforcement officers and his criminal history, which dates to at least 1981.
Larsen was found guilty of selling narcotics in Arizona in 1981, and convicted of larceny and disorderly conduct in Utah in 1983. He also was found guilty of DUI in Utah in 1981 and 1983 and found guilty of DWI in Arizona in 1985. Furse said he then went off the radar for a while, but was found guilty in 2016 of a dog at-large charge in La Plata County but failed to appear in the case.
Public defender Susan Bandy objected to the high monetary bond, adding that he is presumed innocent. She said Larsen survives on limited income from Social Security and military disability and does not have money to post bond. She argued cash bail was the functional equivalent of holding him on no bond.
“Pretrial incarceration due to an inability to pay bond is unconstitutional,” Bandy said.
Lawrence agreed that Larsen is presumed innocent, but said the probable cause against the defendant is “great.” She said Larsen placed many people in the community at grave risk, is a flight risk and that a personal recognizance bond would be a “miscarriage of justice.”
She said it was with some hesitation that she set bond at $1 million cash or surety. She said she was seriously considering a cash-only bond.