A preliminary hearing is underway for the three suspects charged in the murder of Steamboat resident Elliot Stahl. 26-year-old William C. Ellifritz, 21-year-old Brooke L. Forquer, and 23-year-old Skyla Marie Piccolo-Laabs are all from Craig. A timeline of events that led to the discovery of Stahl’s body near the Flat Tops Wilderness Area was the focus during the two days of testimony at the Routt County Judicial Center. A fisherman found the body. The timeline includes Stahl being involved in a traffic stop west of Hayden, and then getting a ride to the Kum & Go in Craig after the driver of that car was arrested. There was also surveillance video from Casey’s Pond before the murder that showed Stahl and the suspects. There’s also video of the car they were in passing through Oak Creek, and then heading back more than an hour later. There was an autopsy. Cause of death is loss of blood due to stab wounds. The preliminary hearing will resume Jan. 16.
47-year-old Derek Kettle of Craig has been arrested again and charged with drug distribution. The arrest comes two weeks before a sentencing hearing for Kettle. He was to be sentenced after a three-day trial in November that found him guilty of multiple drug charges. The most recent arrest was inside the bathroom at Mather’s Bar. Police followed Kettle into the bar, and found him in the bathroom. There were items in his pockets that later tested for heroin, also other drugs, a syringe, and more. An affidavit obtained by the Craig Press says Kettle told police it wasn’t his and he was just trying to use the bathroom. Kettle is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 23 on the previous arrest. He faces between eight and 32 years of prison on the meth distribution charge, and another four to eight years on the heroin distribution charge. Kettle is in the Moffat County jail on two $500,000 cash/surety bonds.
Snow is on the way every day for the next week, which means avalanches could happen. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says there was an avalanche on Buffalo Pass on Sunday, triggered by a group of skiers who managed to get out safely. The avalanche danger for Steamboat and the Flat Top Wilderness Area is moderate, but weak snow under new snow could trigger avalanches. There is a free clinic and discussion on avalanche safety Friday night, at CMC. The talk is hosted by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. It’s from 7-9 p.m. at Allbright Auditorium at CMC. Then there is a field session on avalanche safety all day on Saturday on Rabbit Ears Pass. Sign up at Ski Haus in Steamboat for $45. The Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club is also hosting avalanche safety training this Saturday. Meet in the Freeman Reservoir Trailhead parking lot at 9:30 in the morning.
Matt Karzen has announced he is running for district attorney for Colorado’s 14th Judicial District. He is already district attorney, after being appointed to replace Brett Barkey in July. Karzen has over 24 years of criminal law experience. If elected, Karzen would serve as the DA through 2024.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meets next week in Denver. The commission will talk about passes, permits, and registration regulations. They’ll review “Big Game” regulations and the hunting seasons for waterfowl and migratory birds. They’ll also discuss state wildlife areas and herd management plans. That includes deer in Brush Creek and Basalt, also pronghorn in the San Luis Valley, and the pronghorn and Bighorn Sheep in the Collegiate Range. The meeting is January 15-16.
More people were arrested for DUI over the New Year’s holiday than last. Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation calls it the “Heat is On” campaign348 impaired drivers were arrested over the DUI enforcement period of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2. That’s 14 more than last year’s 334. Local police and sheriff’s departments didn’t submit their numbers. Overall last year, there were 8,513 DUI arrests across the state of Colorado during the different Heat is On enforcement campaigns throughout the year.
Registration is open for spring classes for Colorado Northwestern Community College. There is a new student orientation at the Craig campus tomorrow. It’s from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Then on Saturday, the CNCC men’s and women’s basketball teams have some home games in Rangely. The women play at 3 p.m. and the men take the court at 5 p.m.
In wrestling, the Moffat County High School wrestling team hosts Rifle in Craig at 5 p.m. today. Then the wrestling team is off to the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah, tomorrow. The Moffat County Girls Swim Team is headed to the Montrose Invitational through Saturday.
Today is Jan. 9. It is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
For the weather, don’t forget to call the KRAI Time, Temp, and Weather Hotline at 970-824-1918.