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DA offers to dismiss charge in fatal pedestrian crash in Cortez

Phillips given diversion agreement, 45 days of community service
Cases continue to be heard online by the Montezuma County Combined Courts.

A Towaoc man who struck and fatally injured a pedestrian while driving in Cortez has been granted a diversion agreement with the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Under the arrangement, Brient Phillips, 20, would have a misdemeanor charge of careless driving causing death dismissed after 12 months if he successfully completes the requirements of the agreement, including 45 hours of useful public service.

On the morning of Sept. 23, Phillips was turning left (east) onto U.S. Highway 160 from North Sligo Street when he struck Scotti Bagwell, 50, who was in the crosswalk.

Bagwell died that day from her injuries at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, according to her obituary.

Neither the driver nor the pedestrian was impaired by alcohol or drugs, police said.

Phillips stated he did not see Bagwell step into the crosswalk, and he was unable to stop in time. The traffic signal was flashing a yellow turn signal, and Bagwell was walking in a clearly marked crosswalk.

“Phillips was crying and asked several more times if Ms. Bagwell was going to be okay,” according to the incident report. He requested notification of her condition at the hospital.

As part of the diversion agreement, Phillips shall not violate any law other than minor traffic violations, and must notify the court of any change in his address or phone number. He agreed to pay for the cost of prosecution, which will be determined.

Phillips does not have a criminal record, and he has expressed “great remorse” for the fatal crash — factors that rendered a diversion agreement appropriate, said Assistant District Attorney Will Furse.

“This was a tragic but genuine accident. Our heart goes out to the victim’s family,” he said.

According to the police report, Scotti Bagwell had a mental disability. Her mother, Rayola Bagwell, stated she “does not see all that well and can become disoriented easily.”

Rayola Bagwell reported her missing at 8:37 a.m., about an hour before the collision. “Police dropped what they were doing and went looking for her,” Brock said.

Three officers were in the area when Bagwell was struck. Officer Shane Fletcher applied medical aid to Bagwell until medical personnel arrived on the scene.

According to the police report, the police department “has on numerous occasions contacted Scotti when she had left her home and given her a courtesy ride back to her residence.”

Rayola Bagwell said her daughter had “somehow opened her brother’s door, entered the basement area of the home and then left out a window,” the report says.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

Jun 16, 2021
Update: Driver faces charge after fatal collision with pedestrian
Jun 16, 2021
Pedestrian killed south of Cortez is identified