Steamboat Springs horse rider takes plea deal

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Horse and rider in downtown bar Dec. 11

A woman entered Old Town Pub in downtown Steamboat Springs on horseback the night of Dec. 11. A resulting altercation outside eventually led to the arrest of a 44-year-old Steamboat Springs man.

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Dec. 12, 2011: Ride through Steamboat a nostalgic 1 for some

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Courtesy of Routt County Sheriff's Office

Michael Joseph Miller

— Michael Miller’s December pub crawl on horseback will remain one of Steamboat Springs’ more memorable news events. Five months later, it appears Miller’s legal troubles are over.

Miller, a Steamboat Springs resident, was scheduled to have a one-day trial beginning Thursday, but it was canceled after he accepted a deal offered by the Routt County District Attorney’s Office. He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct Wednesday. As a result, he was sentenced to 36 hours of community service and six months of unsupervised probation, and he must pay $284.50 in court costs and fines.

“He’s glad to get it behind him,” said Sandy Horner, Miller’s attorney.

Miller could not immediately be reached Thursday.

Miller’s Dec. 11 ride on horseback with friends Kenneth Recker and Roxanne Lange started on Emerald Mountain and turned into a tour of local watering holes. There also was a ride through Safeway, where they purchased a bag of tortilla chips from the grocery store’s Starbucks stand.

The ride ended for Miller after he was subdued by a Taser at 10:30 p.m. and taken into custody by Steamboat Springs Police Department officers, who had caught up with Miller on the Yampa River Core Trail. The officers were investigating an altercation Miller was involved in while at Old Town Pub.

According to Miller’s arrest affidavit, an officer asked Miller to dismount his horse after he was contacted by police on his way home, and he refused. The affidavit goes on to state that Miller, who was 44 at the time, continued to disregard officers’ orders to dismount, at which point Miller “spurred” his horse, causing it to rear up. Officers used a Taser on Miller and removed him from the horse after they said he continued to ignore commands.

Lange and Recker were not taken into custody and left the scene without facing charges.

Horner said that if the case went to trial, he would have argued that Miller’s actions during the fight at Old Town Pub were self-defense.

“There were two people accosting him, and he was just trying to defend himself,” Horner said.

As for the charges related to the altercation with police, Horner said police never told Miller he was being arrested.

“They never bothered to tell him that he was being investigated for a crime,” Horner said.

As part of the plea deal, the charges involving the altercation with police were dropped, and Miller took that into consideration when he took the deal, Horner said.

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Horseback riders in Steamboat's Safeway

Three Routt County residents ventured into Safeway on horseback the evening of Dec. 11. Their presence shocked customers and upset the store manager.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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