Grand County deputies spare couple frigid night in their car
December 1, 2008
Law enforcement officers get paid to do a job, but often they go beyond what is necessary to help those who are and might be getting themselves into a bad situation.
About 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23, Deputy Burke Payne received a radio message from Grand County Sheriff’s dispatcher about a suspicious vehicle located on County Road 62 near the intersection with U.S. Highway 34.
Responding to the scene, Deputy Payne spotted the vehicle, a Chevy Suburban, which had its front end in a ditch at a 35-degree angle. Exiting his patrol car, he could see no one in the vehicle’s passenger compartment but spot did a purse and shoes on the floor board. The Suburban’s doors were unlocked and the keys were still in the ignition.
At the same moment, Deputy Tim Hathrun arrived on scene to assist. Coming up to the upended vehicle and looking in the back, he spotted what he believed to be “human fingers poking out from under a blanket.”
Deputy Hathrun then banged on the Suburban and ordered those inside to get out. A man and woman, 38-year old Kenneth Terry and 50-year-old Denise Bryson, both of Denver, exited the vehicle.
Under questioning, Bryson admitted she had been driving when the Suburban went into the ditch about 11 p.m. that night. Because Terry and she had been unable to get it out of the ditch, they had decided to sleep overnight in the back of the vehicle.
As Bryson spoke, the deputies could defect the strong smell of alcohol on her breath. She also staggered and almost fell several times when asked to walk.
A portable breath test showed that Bryson had a .145 BAC while Terry’s results were .109 BAC. A search of the suburban uncovered several open beer cans in the back of the Suburban where they had been sleeping.
Because Bryson and Terry were both too inebriated to drive, Deputy Payne told them that they would have to wait until they sobered up or someone from Denver came to pick them up. Asked if they had enough money for a motel room, the two said they only had enough to pay for gas back to Denver.
Due to the level of the couple’s intoxication and that the outside temperature was 12 degrees, Deputy Payne felt they could not be left to sleep inside their vehicle. He radioed the Grand County Communications Center and asked a dispatcher to contact Snow Mountain Ranch-YMCA of the Rockies to see if they had a “Good Samaritan” room for the night. The YMCA agreed to take in the couple.
The two were transported to the YMCA. Bryson was issued a citation for careless driving and failing to present proof of insurance.