Steamboat Springs A man who led the Colorado State Patrol on a high-speed chase across Routt County in November is proceeding to trial in Routt County District Court.
James Nicholson, 38, eluded arrest last year by giving local law enforcement a false identity and fleeing Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he was receiving treatment for minor injuries he received after crashing a stolen vehicle near Routt County Road 14. At a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Routt County Court, Judge James Garrecht determined that Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James presented enough evidence to take the matter to trial.
Nicholson was arrested Dec. 15 by the Greeley Police Department on unrelated charges, and has remained in custody since that time in Routt and Weld counties. He has not yet entered a plea.
Nicholson faces felony charges of vehicular eluding, criminal impersonation and second-degree aggravated motor theft. He faces misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, reckless driving, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In November 2007, Nicholson led former State Patrol Trooper Rick Kaspar on a high-speed chase after Kaspar attempted to pull him over while ascending Rabbit Ears Pass on U.S. Highway 40. Nicholson made a U-turn in a stolen Lincoln sedan, sped west down the pass and reached speeds of up to 120 mph on Colorado Highway 131 and C.R. 14, according to the State Patrol.
Nicholson lost control of the car while attempting a sharp turn from C.R. 14 onto C.R. 14C. The car came to rest upside-down in a field adjacent to the road.
Nicholson admitted he was intoxicated at the scene, Kaspar said Wednesday in Routt County Court.
Nicholson sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported via ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he eluded arrest by walking out of the hospital in his nightgown at 3 a.m. the next day. Law enforcement was unaware that he had given a false identity, his brother's, until after the escape.
In his pending Weld County case, Nicholson is charged with two counts of violating a protection order, two counts of theft, two counts of criminal escape, harassment, menacing and eluding.
Nicholson is due to appear in Routt County District Court for arraignment at 3 p.m. June 20.
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