The mother of a man facing 13 criminal charges for allegedly stealing a vehicle in Basalt on Wednesday and crashing it in Aspen said her son did not steal the SUV and was only offered a chance to drive it by a 12-year-old boy she said was the actual thief.
Dylan Martin, 21, of Carbondale, remained hospitalized Thursday in good condition, said Aspen Valley Hospital spokeswoman Ginny Dyche. Martin’s mother said he was in intensive care and may be moved to Grand Junction’s hospital today for surgery.
Martin is accused of breaking into a locked Lexus SUV in Basalt near Town Hall between 10:30 and 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, picking up the 12-year-old boy with an offer of a lift home and then driving upvalley on Highway 82 at speeds approaching 100 mph.
Martin allegedly crashed the vehicle in a home’s yard on the 800 block of Cemetery Lane, traveling through trees and rolling it once.
Both passengers, who were wearing seat belts, had to be extricated. The boy was treated for bumps and bruises and released.
The juvenile told Basalt police Sgt. Penny Paxton that he and some friends were hanging out around Basalt and that he was introduced by them to Martin. He was waiting at a bus stop when Martin allegedly drove up and offered the ride.
But Melissa Martin, Dylan’s mother, said she believes the investigation is far from over. The family is requesting that the SUV be fingerprinted to show that the boy was actually driving it first and that he drove up to Dylan Martin.
The boy told Dylan Martin that he was 16, and when he approached Martin later that night, the boy told the suspect that the vehicle was his father’s, Melissa Martin said.
“He asked Dylan if he wanted to take it for a drive, and Dylan said, ‘Sure, why not?’” she said, adding that her son didn’t know the SUV was stolen.
Dylan said he was going too fast on Cemetery Lane and lost control after going over a speed bump, Melissa Martin said.
Her son needs surgery on his ankle, which was crushed in the accident, and on his mandible and orbital socket, she said.
“He’s still in ICU,” Melissa Martin said.
Paxton’s warrant contained 11 charges, including felony counts of child abuse, aggravated motor vehicle theft, burglary, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and trespassing. Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin added a felony charge of kidnapping and misdemeanor assault, Paxton said.
Martin will also be charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, two DUI counts and careless driving causing injury, a traffic offense.
“It’s the most charges in a warrant that I’ve ever done in my 12 years of being a cop,” Paxton said.
The boy was not panicked during the ordeal but didn’t understand why he wasn’t being let out of the vehicle, she said.
“He didn’t get why the car wouldn’t stop,” Paxton said. “When you’re 12 and dealing with a drunk person, the reasoning just isn’t there because you’re 12.”
Paxton said her department received a few calls Thursday from people concerned about the role of the juvenile’s parents and why he was out so late. The boy did not have his parents’ permission to be out at that hour, Paxton said, adding that the father was “horrified” when police contacted him at 2:30 Wednesday morning.
“They were not allowing him out to be partying, and I think that was the perception,” she said. They were “lucky and grateful.”
Police don’t know yet how Martin was able to allegedly get inside the locked SUV. Once inside, he found a set of what the SUV’s owner called “valet” keys, Paxton said.
Because of his injuries, she said she had not yet interviewed Martin. His blood-alcohol level has been analyzed but Paxton said she was not releasing it Thursday.
Melissa Martin said she expects the case to go to trial.