BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– University of Colorado police arrested a man suspected of fondling and refusing to leave a NightRide driver’s car.
“It is like a little bit scary whenever you hear about issues of like things like that,” said Claudette Courtois, a sophomore at CU.
The female driver had dropped off students on Kittredge Loop Drive between Fiske Planetarium and Kittredge Central. That’s when an unknown male got into the care without permission and refused to leave.
NightRide is a free safe ride service offered on the CU Boulder campus for students, faculty and staff during nighttime hours.
“It gives students a way to get around super late at night and they don’t have to spend money to do it, it’s more of a community outreach thing,” said Trevor Jesse, a freshman at CU. “I know a lot of people who use it and it’s most likely when you’re farther away and you need to get back here and you don’t really have any other viable options.”
The victim said he prevented her from using her cellphone, threatened her if she called for help, fondled her and tried to kiss her.
The driver took him to the Shell gas station at 29th Street and Baseline Road where he got out and walked away.
“I think that’s very helpful for students, you’re not drinking and driving or depending on someone that is also drinking or driving, so it’s a really good resource,” said Adela Aguirre, another freshman at CU.
Late Friday morning, the suspect in that case turned himself in at the Boulder Police Department. University of Colorado police responded and interviewed the suspect. The victim confirmed the suspect’s identity.
Ashten Johnson Talley, 29, of Vail was arrested. He is facing charges of first-degree criminal trespass, a felony, physical harassment, computer crime for unlawfully accessing the victim’s smartphone and second-degree criminal tampering of the phone.
Talley was booked into the Boulder County Jail.
Investigators say that although the alert indicated fondling, there is no evidence that the actions were sexual in nature or meet the legal definition of a sex crime.
Witnesses told police that Talley was intoxicated and also asked a student in her personal car if he could get a ride shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday.
“Being more aware of what’s happening, always sticking with friends, never going by yourself,” said Aguirre.
This is the latest in a series of suspicious or violent encounters near the CU Boulder campus, including two incidents involving groups of men assaulting or menacing women with a gun.