Skier Nobis misses court
March 25, 2006
The famous skier who the police say led officers on a drunken high-speed chase through Park Meadows on March 12 left the country and missed a court date on Tuesday, prompting Judge Bruce Lubeck to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Meanwhile, court documents show that Jeremy Nobis, 35, has twice been convicted of drunken driving in the last 10 years and served 10 days in the Summit County Jail less than a year ago for one of the convictions.
Nobis was scheduled to be in front of Lubeck on Tuesday for his initial appearance. Instead, the former Olympic skier’s attorney, Ned Stone, attended and attempted to have the appearance delayed. Lubeck denied the request, according to the court, and issued the $5,000 bench warrant.
Stone said in an interview that Nobis was previously scheduled to be in British Columbia to appear in a ski film. Stone described the film as one of his client’s major jobs of the year. Nobis told Stone that the filmmaker would not delay the shooting, according to the attorney.
Stone said he told Nobis before he left that he expected that his request for a delay would be granted. The requests usually are granted based on attorneys’ schedules or the availability of witnesses, he said, adding that he plans to attempt to have the warrant recalled.
Stone said Nobis is scheduled to return to the U.S. in the second or third week of April.
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Summit County Attorney David Brickey said in an interview that it is possible that he will demand that the skier’s passport be turned over when he returns but he acknowledged that Nobis must travel abroad for work.
Brickey’s office brought six charges against Nobis on March 14, including two third-degree felonies, claiming that Nobis was drunk when he sped through Park Meadows with the police in pursuit.
The felony charges are failing to respond to an officer’s signal to stop and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Misdemeanor charges stemming from the chase include reckless driving and violating a conditional driver license.
The county attorney said he is not awestruck by the local-celebrity status of Nobis and said the skier will not be treated differently as he is prosecuted.
"I don’t care if it’s Jeremy Nobis or anybody else intoxicated and operating a vehicle," Brickey said. "That car is a deadly weapon."
In a four-page filing submitted by Brickey’s office to the Third District Court, Robert Lucking, a Police Department detective, claims that officer Jim McNeice tried to stop Nobis for two minor traffic violations at the intersection of Park Avenue and Deer Valley Drive.
Nobis, driving a green Chevrolet Avalanche, pulled into the parking lot at Albertsons and accelerated through the parking lot onto Homestake Road, starting the police chase, the filing said.
The police chased Nobis for three miles at speeds between 35 and 50 mph before Nobis collided with officer Jim Snyder’s car, Lucking said in the filing. After the collision, Nobis tried to run away but was caught and taken into custody by Snyder and McNeice, the prosecutors said.
The police said they smelled alcohol on the skier’s breath and Nobis had "red glossy eyes" and "slow slurred speech," according to the filing. The officers discovered two empty beer cans under the front passenger seat, the prosecutors said in the filing.
He was taken to the Summit County Jail where he submitted to a breath test, which found .113 grams of alcohol in his breath, the filing said, above the .08-gram limit.
Stone said there are "significant discrepancies" between what Nobis claims occurred and the prosecution’s version. He did not provide details, however, but said previously the police officers were rough with Nobis.
The prosecutors said Nobis was convicted on drunken-driving charges on April 26, 2005 and Aug. 16, 1999. The prior convictions allowed the prosecutors to enhance the current drunken-driving charge to a felony. Normally, they are class B misdemeanors.
Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Class B misdemeanors carry a jail sentence of up to six months and a $1,000 fine.
Nobis in May 2005 spent 10 days in jail after pleading guilty to a class B misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence, entering the Summit County Jail on May 1 and leaving on May 11, court documents show.
Judge Deno Himonas leveled the 2005 sentence, which also required Nobis to continue with treatment at the Intermountain Center for Cognitive Therapy and appear at Park City High School to speak to students about the dangers of drunken driving, among other conditions.
Nobis competed in the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics and spent eight years on the U.S. Ski Team.