Man shot by Grand County sheriff’s deputy strikes plea deal
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado
The man shot by a Grand County sheriff’s deputy last October pleaded guilty to attempted vehicular assault on Tuesday afternoon as part of plea deal under which he could be sentenced to a maximum of 90 days in jail and two years of supervised probation.
David Christopher Dalgarn (also known as David North), was charged in April with felony vehicular eluding, criminal attempt to disarm a police officer, and reckless driving. Two of those charges, both felonies, will be dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.
The original felony charges carried presumptive sentences of one year to 18 months and one to three years in the Department of Corrections, plus potential fines up to $100,000.
The attempted vehicular assault charge to which Dalgarn pleaded guilty was changed from the count of felony vehicular eluding.
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District Court Judge Mary Hoak earlier in the day had agreed to have the case bound over to her court from Grand County Court. She advised Dalgarn that if he violates his probation, he could be subject to the presumptive sentencing range for Class 6 felonies of one year to 18 months in the Department of Corrections, a $1,000-$100,000 fine and one year of mandatory parole.
Dalgarn, who is wheelchair-bound as a result of the shooting, signed his own paperwork in the courtroom with his left hand, which was in a brace. He used his right hand to control his electric wheelchair with a golf ball-topped control stick and to drink water from a plastic bottle with a long plastic straw.
He is otherwise paralyzed from the neck down, according to family members.
Family members in the past also told reporters that Dalgarn has a history of schizophrenia, but when asked by Hoak during advisement whether he has been diagnosed with a mental illness, Dalgarn responded, “No.”
Represented by three attorneys, Dalgarn, 23 at the time of the shooting, had closely cut hair and politely addressed the court when asked to do so. Although he and his attorneys declined comment after the hearing, many in his entourage were smiling while talking and waiting for the elevator.
Dalgarn’s lead attorney, Karen Steinhauser, asked that any probation Dalgarn might be subject to be transferred to Greeley, where he is living with his mother. Hoak said she can’t guarantee that because it is up to the probation department in Greeley.
Shot four times
Dalgarn was shot four times by Deputy Rochalle Rooks on Oct. 6, 2008, after a high speed chase that ended when Rooks drove his car into Dalgarn’s near Tabernash. Rooks shot Dalgarn during the ensuing altercation after Dalgarn repeatedly tried to take away Rooks’ gun, according to the deputy.
An investigation by the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office released in January exonerated Rooks. It says Dalgarn’s vehicle approached speeds of 100 mph as it appeared to intentionally try to hit other vehicles, including oncoming traffic.
Rooks told investigators he rammed Dalgarn’s car because he was concerned for the safety of others as the chase approached the town of Fraser. The DA’s report also says Rooks warned Dalgarn several times not to try to take his gun before he shot him.
Rooks appeared in the back of Hoak’s courtroom briefly during the hearing on Tuesday. He did not address the court and left just before the hearing concluded.
He has declined in the past to discuss the incident.
Sentencing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10, in District Court at Hot Sulphur Springs.
The plea deal entails a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, restitution, the cost of prosecution and two years of supervised probation.
Hoak advised Dalgarn that the court could change its mind about tentatively accepting the plea deal based on the findings of the presentencing report that will be prepared before the sentencing hearing.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s hearing, Hoak ordered Dalgarn to report to the Grand County Jail to be fingerprinted and photographed and to make arrangements with the probation department for the presentencing report.
Dalgarn, who was issued a summons to appear on the charges, has not been incarcerated as a result of the incident.
– Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19610 or at email@example.com
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