Deputy contests traffic citation

Craig man injured in accident 'surprised' at 'not guilty' plea

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A Moffat County Sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a traffic infraction stemming from a February accident that left a Craig man and his daughter injured.

Courtland Folks, 31, hands crossed standing at attention in his green deputy's uniform, told Judge Mary Lynne James he's prepared to take the case to trial in Moffat County Court.

"I empathize with you having to appear in court," James told Folks, whose case James called first among 15 defendants scheduled on the court's 8:30 a.m. docket.

The case will be reviewed at 10 a.m. Wednesday when a non-jury trial date in Moffat County Court could be scheduled.

Folks is charged with failure to obey a traffic control devise, a minor infraction that includes penalties of $56 in fines and surcharges, plus four points on a driver's license upon conviction.

Attempts to reach Folks Tuesday afternoon were not successful.

Tony Maneotis -- the 39-year-old man injured in the accident -- sat in on Tuesday's hearing with his wife, Kim. He wore a brace supporting a neck injury suffered in the accident.

"Lucky to be alive," Maneotis said. Neck and lower back injuries have him in therapy three times a week while the couple's 13-year-old daughter, MacKenzie, has her own weekly therapies for whiplash.

Maneotis called Folks' decision to contest the charge a "surprise."

The charge -- brought by the District Attorney's office following an investigation by the Colorado State Patrol -- was filed nearly a month after Folks' patrol vehicle was struck by Maneotis' pickup truck the morning of Feb. 7 at the intersection of State Highway 13 and West Victory Way.

No charges were filed against Maneotis, who drove into the intersection under a green light, eastbound on West Victory Way that morning while taking his daughter to school.

Folks -- responding to an emergency call on Moffat County Road 203 with lights and sirens activated -- was northbound on State Highway 13 entering the crossroads under a red light.

In a prepared statement after filing charges, the District Attorney's office concluded that Folks "did not act with any carelessness or recklessness," in causing the accident but "did not exercise sufficient caution when approaching the intersection."

Jerry Hoberg, Moffat County Undersheriff, wouldn't discuss an internal review of Folks' accident or disciplinary measures.

Hoberg said career prospects aren't typically impacted by one traffic infraction. He has said the ticket is Folks' first as a deputy.

"I might ask some questions about the incident, but it wouldn't necessarily have a great bearing on whether that person's getting a job or not," Hoberg said.

Maneotis, meanwhile, said he's returned on a limited basis to his job as sales manager at Craig's Victory Motors. He's had surgery on a knee already, and faces two others related to the accident.

Whether the incident ends up on a civil court docket isn't clear.

"We just want to see what the outcome of this case is," said Kim Maneotis.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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