Thursday's Crash Not Suspect's First Brush With The Law

Thursday's accident that took the lives of two Mesa State College students is just part of a recent criminal history for suspect Patrick Strawmatt.

During Friday's arraignment at the Mesa County Justice Center it was revealed that the suspect wasn't always on the wrong side of the law.

Strawmatt was once a police officer, from 1987-1994, in Layfayette, CO. He was then a jail bondsman for another decade before having his license revoked for unspecified reasons in 2005.

During the arraignment, public defender David Eisner says speaking to Strawmatt, the suspect, who was in a wheelchair and peppered with facial injuries from the crash, was apparently aware and remorseful of what he'd done.

Eisner added that a deterioration of health beginning in 2004 has led to his downfall.

However, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger reminded the court that this is the second incident in just the last month and a half for Strawmatt involving driving under the influence and vehicular eluding.

In February, the 42-year-old led the Park County Sheriff's Office on a high speed pursuit while under the influence of alcohol.

Driving the same vehicle used in Thursday's crash, the suspect rammed the sheriff's vehicle then assaulted him.

"We tried to get him out of the car, he refused, we ended up having to break out the drivers window, I went in and unlocked the car, reached in to unseatbelt him when he punched me in the face," Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener said.

Along with two counts of first-degree murder, Strawmatt also faces four counts of vehicular homicide, vehicular eluding and driving under the influence among others.

Because of the nature of the crime, bail was set at $1M with specific conditions of refraining from alcohol and driving.

Strawmatt will be back in court April 3rd for a formal filing of charges.


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