Davien Payne, ex-CU Buff, allegedly broke larynx of car theft victim's boyfriend

It's a bizarre story: The victim of a car heist and her boyfriend see the stolen vehicle and confront the alleged thief as they're crossing the street -- leading to a brutal punch-out and a broken larynx before an arrest takes place.

Adding to the oddity is the accused: Davien Payne, a once highly recruited college football player at CU-Boulder who was recently kicked off the team.

Photos, video and details below.

According to, Payne attended Citrus Hill High School in Perris, California, and did so well enough that he was reportedly recruited as a running back by a slew of high-profile squads: Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, Boise State, Idaho and Nevada. Here's a screen capture from the site:

But gridiron skills weren't enough to keep him on the team. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, he was suspended from the Buffs this spring when he was still a red-shirt freshman due to what's termed a violation of team rules. Then, in June, he was cut from the program over academic ineligibility.

Payne apparently hung around Boulder, though, and the morning of Saturday, August 17, 7News reports that he was stopped by a police officer investigating reports that someone was randomly trying to open car doors.

The cop quizzed Payne, but he soon cut him loose for want of evidence that he'd committed a crime. But about an hour later, he had plenty, thanks to Alex Walden and Ryan Tippetts.

The couple couldn't find Walden's Jetta, which had been parked on University Hill in Boulder, and after finding her phone on the pavement, she quickly came to the conclusion that her ride had been jacked.

She subsequently called the cops to report the suspected crime. Then, as she and Tippetts were crossing 16th Street, a car slowed to let the two of them pass.

Her car. With a man identified as Payne behind the wheel.

At that point, Walden verbally confronted the driver, and as things escalated, Tippetts flung himself into the car's passenger-side window.

This last move proved to be a painful one for Tippetts. He says Payne started punching him in the vicinity of his face and neck, and didn't stop until he'd broken Tippetts's larnyx. He tells 7News his throat is being held together by four titanium plates and eight screws.

As for Payne, he tried to drive off, but he didn't get far. He was captured on 17th Street after a confrontation with officers -- including the one who'd quizzed him earlier. The Daily Camera quotes him as yelling, "They're chasing me! They're chasing me!" before allegedly resisting arrest -- an action that earned him a slug in the mug.

Shortly thereafter, Payne was arrested on suspicion of several charges, including aggravated motor vehicle theft, obstructing a police officer and second-degree assault for apparently giving Tippetts this:

Continue to see the 7News report.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa May: "Jordan Webb: CU-Boulder quarterback's arrest latest disaster for program in crisis."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts