Duel, Steven Spielberg's 1971 feature-length directorial debut about a crazed trucker on a smash-and-trash spree, is well worth seeing -- but residents of a Longmont neighborhood should probably wait a while before checking it out. After all, many of them just witnessed a version of it live.
David Kent, a 39-year old from Lebanon, Tennessee, was busted Saturday night after using his eighteen-wheeler to carve what Longmont Police Commander Tim Lewis calls "a large swath of destruction" through Prospect, one of the community's more upscale sections.
As Lewis reads through the seventeen-item-long list of destruction, he mutters an appropriate phrase: "Good Lord..."
Calls started coming into the LPD late Saturday -- a lot of them. As Lewis notes, "It was very loud, between the RPMs the truck was generating to plow through the neighborhood and the noise from the destruction." He estimates that it only took Kent about ten minutes to rack up his wreckage tally. "He wasn't going slow about it," Lewis says.
An officer arrested Kent at about 11:30 p.m.; he refused to take a roadside sobriety test, but Lewis feels comfortable describing him as "very intoxicated." Afterward, LPD reps began cataloging his handiwork. Some highlights, most of them visited on residents of Katy Lane:
Eight vehicles, ranging from a 4Runner to a Lincoln Continental, were hit either by Kent's tractor-trailer or by a tree that was uprooted and wound up stuck between the trailer and the truck. (Multiple trees were taken out, including one large enough to block Main Street when it came loose.) Recycling bins were hit and squashed. A large section of fencing was torn down. A light pole was smacked. The rain gutter was torn off a house. A carport was demolished. And more, more, more.
At this writing, Kent has been charged with seventeen counts of hit and run, and a like number of leaving-the-scene-of-an-accident charges. But Lewis says his department will be consulting with the Boulder County District Attorney's Office later today to look at increasing the severity of these accusations.
"Drunk drivers hit things and make bad decisions," he allows. "But this guy was making so many passes through the neighborhood in different places that he had to know what was going on. Clearly, there was some intent to make him continue to inflict that much damage on the neighborhood."
Not that authorities believe he targeted a specific person, or Longmont in general.
"He has no connection to this community and no reason to be here and no other prior contacts here," Lewis says. "It was just that, unfortunately, he found that neighborhood and decided to go on a rampage."
He'll have a hard time repeating the feat. Kent is presently ensconced at Boulder County Jail, where he has no access to a set of wheels like the one that put its mark on Longmont this past weekend.
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