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Man gets probation after October high-speed chase

Cleveland Rix was sentenced to 12 months of probation in Montezuma County Court on Wednesday after impersonating a police vehicle and leading an officer on a high-speed chase on Oct. 2, according to police reports.

He pleaded guilty to one count of reckless driving before county Judge JenniLynn Lawrence. A felony eluding charge was dismissed.

Rix was arrested after Cortez Police officer Angelo Martinez noticed a white minivan with flashing red and blue lights behind him as he patrolled E. Main Street near Colorado Highway 145, according to his report. The van did not show government markings, and it had a Colorado license plate, the report states.

The van passed Martinez and continued east on U.S. Highway 160 at 70 mph, the report states. Martinez pursued the vehicle, which passed County Road 29, traveling east at 100 mph. The van passed several cars on the left and right before suddenly pulling over onto the shoulder near the McElmo Flume scenic pullout.

Martinez drew his weapon and ordered the man to get out of the vehicle, according to the report. A “very tall man” wearing a leather vest and blue jeans stepped out of the van and began walking toward Martinez, who ordered the man to get away from the van and onto his knees.

Martinez handcuffed the man, who identified himself as Rix, according to the report. Rix said there were people after him who had killed his sister-in-law, and he had some “covert things going on,” Martinez wrote in the report. Rix was rambling, changing subjects and not making sense, the report states.

Lawrence issued the sentence on the condition that Rix be subject to mental health evaluations and ongoing treatment. District Attorney Will Furse said Rix’s mental health likely contributed to his actions.

Lawrence noted that Rix had always been respectful to the court.

“You don’t get to pretend to be a police officer,” she told him.

Hearing set in drug case

Also Wednesday, a preliminary hearing for Ryan Buffington was set for Jan. 11 at 2:30 p.m. in county court. Buffington was arrested Nov. 30 in Cortez on a felony warrant for controlled substance distribution, possession and unlawful use, as well as an illegal weapon possession. A criminal complaint alleged that Buffington had brought 14 grams of cocaine into the country, Defense Attorney Justin Bogan said.

Deferred judgment in theft

Lawrence handed Jay Salisbury a deferred sentence on Tuesday.

Salisbury had pleaded guilty to two counts of motor vehicle theft. Lawrence required him to pay any restitution he might owe in connection with the case and complete 40 hours of public service.

Deferred judgment in DWAI

Lawrence on Tuesday granted Jason Moffitt a deferred judgment in connection with a second conviction for driving while ability impaired.

Though a second offense usually requires a heavier sentence, the court granted the deferred judgment because of evidence concerns in the case, Lawrence said. The conditions of the judgment included 24 months of probation and completion of 48 hours of public service.


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