A man who crashed his car into a Durango home while trying to flee police was sentenced Thursday to two years’ probation.
Judge Douglas S. Walker, from the 22nd Judicial District, which includes Cortez, accepted a plea deal for Freedom Anderson, 27, who was charged with one count of vehicular eluding. Anderson attended the hearing virtually from La Plata County Jail because he was exposed to COVID-19.
Anderson had been arrested in January 2021 after he fled from police in a vehicle before crashing into a home near Eighth Street and East Eighth Avenue, and then running on foot. He was wanted on suspicion of a weapons charge.
The judge handed Anderson a two-year sentence of supervised probation. The terms included that Anderson obtain a substance abuse evaluation, that he abstain from alcohol and elicit drugs during the term of his probation, and that he refrain from driving a motor vehicle of any kind – including a car, ATV or even a tractor.
Walker said he accepted Anderson’s guilty plea with skepticism, noting the man’s prior criminal history. He warned Anderson that violation of his probation would earn him nine months with the Colorado Department of Corrections.
“I didn’t want to be limited to nine months at DOC, Mr. Anderson,” Walker said. “So you’re not limited to nine months at DOC if you don’t follow through on what you’re telling me today.”
The judge said because Anderson was on probation when he was arrested in January 2021, he could spend three to six years in prison if he breaks the terms of probation again. He said he does not want to tie the hands of any other judge who may hear a future case against Anderson.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is your last chance,” Walker said.
Before Walker accepted Anderson’s plea deal, he asked Anderson why he should consider the plea.
Anderson said he takes full responsibility for his actions and that he knows he was “dangerous and reckless.”
In September, Anderson was shot by Clint Simmons, a bail bondsman in Cortez, who was later charged with felony assault.
“Since being shot, in jail I’ve got a long time and a decent amount of months to think about what I’ve been doing,” Anderson said.
He said he was driven by drugs and the lifestyle that comes with them, but he wants to change for the better and prove to everyone who doubts him – and himself – that he can change.