Winter Park man arrested for felony menacing

Dustin Keesling
Grand County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

Fraser Winter Park Police arrested Dustin Keesling, 40, of Winter Park, for a Class-5 felony count of menacing on Jan. 13. Officers received a report about an intoxicated man refusing to leave The Ditch on 40 restaurant around 4 p.m., but the man had left by the time officers arrived, according to an affidavit for warrantless arrest.

A little over an hour later, someone at the restaurant called police again saying the man, later identified as Keesling, had returned with a knife and his pitbull, according to the affidavit. Officers contacted Keesling near the corner of Vasquez Road and U.S. Highway 40 as he was leaving the restaurant.

An officer noticed Keesling’s unsteady balance and slurred speech, as well as a straight-blade knife between 8 and 10 inches long on his hip, the affidavit read. Keesling gave the knife, as well as another concealed 8-10 inch knife and two pocket knives, to the officer when he was asked to surrender them.

The officer asked Keesling about why he had the knives, and he said he went home to get them after being kicked out of the restaurant so he could find out if people he had been in a confrontation with “really wanted to make something of this,” according to the affidavit.

Keesling agreed to sit at a bus stop with one officer while another went to the restaurant to talk to the staff, but the officers said he started confronting pedestrians and a motorist passing by, yelling curses and racial slurs. The officers detained Keesling for disorderly conduct and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon and transported him to the Grand County Jail.

One officer went to The Ditch to speak with employees and learned Keesling had become intoxicated earlier that afternoon, and staff had asked him to leave several times. Staff members said Keesling challenged staff members to a fight, swore at them and used racially-charged language in reference to one employee.

Keesling eventually left, but reportedly came back with his knives and dog, he came up the steps swearing at bystanders. When Keesling’s dog got away from him, one employee caught it and started walking it back to him. They saw one of the knives in Keesling’s hand, though, and other employees pulled them back into the restaurant for their safety.

Charges against Keesling include felony menacing, misdemeanors for harassment and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon and petty offense charges for trespassing and disorderly conduct. He is scheduled for a court appearance in mid-February.

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.