Susan Crenshaw, the former co-host of Channel 9's Good Afternoon, Colorado had a less than perfect day last August 18. That's when she allegedly tried to run down her husband with a car. Now she's waiting out a one-year deferred sentence for criminal mischief and trying to revive her stalled career.
"I'm putting my life back together," says Crenshaw, 31. "It's been a struggle."
For several years, Crenshaw graced the KUSA studios and helped co-anchor Mark Koebrich dish up a lite stew of features, celebrity interviews and interior decorating and health tips. She'd come to Colorado from Texas, where she'd worked as a model and hosted a crafts show for the Lifetime cable network.
Good Afternoon, Colorado lasted four and a half years, from 1990 until September 1994, when static ratings and high production costs brought it to a halt. Koebrich, once referred to as "the nicest guy on local television" by a Denver newspaper reporter, was there till the bittersweet end.
Crenshaw, however, was not. She'd been replaced by Louisa Craft a year earlier. And if truth be told, some of her co-workers say they weren't especially sorry to see her go. (Koebrich, who still works at Channel 9, is not among her detractors. "She's a good kid," he says of Crenshaw.)
Since leaving the station, Crenshaw has moved on to host (with Koebrich) Start to Finish for the Discovery Channel. Together they explore the world of hobbies, collectibles and crafts.
Crenshaw found more than TV work when she moved to Colorado to co-host the Channel 9 show: She met a Boulder real estate agent named Rusty McCoy, and their talk eventually turned from mortgages to marriage.
By last August 18, however, things had gotten nasty. According to Boulder County sheriff's deputies, the couple had been arguing earlier in the day, and when McCoy left their house to go horseback riding, Crenshaw followed in her Saab.
McCoy told officers that when Crenshaw pulled up and asked him to get into her car, he refused because she was "irrational" and "yelling." When he walked away from her, he said, Crenshaw tried to hit him with the car.
McCoy claims that Crenshaw then rammed his pickup with her Saab, backed up and rammed it a second time.
When Crenshaw got out of her car, McCoy said, he struggled to get her car keys, then walked down the driveway to get away from her. But Crenshaw followed him, he said, her arms flailing as she tried to hit and kick him.
After McCoy took refuge at a nearby house, he told officers, Crenshaw grabbed his briefcase from his truck and tossed out its contents.
Crenshaw's version of events was similar to that of her husband's, al-though she told police that McCoy had called her "selfish," "a bitch" and a "fucking cunt." She'd dumped out his briefcase while searching for an extra set of car keys, she said, and claimed that hitting his truck was "an accident."
The deputies apparently found McCoy the more credible of the two. They arrested Crenshaw for investigation of menacing, harassment and felony criminal mischief and took her off to jail. Crenshaw posted a $5,000 bond the following day. One of the conditions of her release was that she not have any contact with McCoy except in counseling sessions.
Crenshaw reached a plea agreement with the district attorney's office in January, pleading guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief in return for a one-year deferred sentence, sixteen hours of community service and a fine. The other charges against her were dropped.
"I'm not going to deny it happened," Crenshaw told Westword last week. "I'm not going to say it's Rusty's fault--it's mine." But Crenshaw still claims she hit her husband's car by accident.
Although they weathered that incident, Crenshaw says that when she checked into a hospital seeking treatment for depression earlier this year, McCoy asked for a divorce.
"He fell in love with the girl on TV," she says. "But all the while I was up there smiling, it was only me who knew I was dying inside." She says her feelings often veered across the map and that McCoy "never knew who he was coming home to. Rusty decided he wanted a divorce, and I understand that. I'm not what he bargained for."
And though she says she still loves her husband "very, very much," she concedes that they are now engaged in a difficult, painful divorce action.
Times have been tough, says Crenshaw, who claims to receive no financial support from her estranged husband. The mother of two children from a previous marriage, she worked briefly as a hostess at Morton's steakhouse in LoDo last month to help pay the bills.
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That ended, she said, after her picture appeared in a Rocky Mountain News column by Bill Husted announcing that she was working at the restaurant. "When that got printed in the paper," she says, "I got all these calls and flowers, and it seemed like it was no longer safe for me to be there. We mutually agreed that it was best that I leave."
A Morton's manager, however, says that if Crenshaw was being deluged with calls and flowers, he was unaware of it. "She just called up one night and said she quit," he says.
Crenshaw is still hoping to make a go of it in show biz. Friends say she is working with Discovery on a new show about making crafts for pets, and she says she will soon be writing and producing a half-hour daily radio show in Boulder.
"It's going to be just fun Boulder issues and serious Boulder issues," Crenshaw says. "It will be like Good Afternoon, Colorado on the radio.