(HUERFANO COUNTY, Colo.) — A plea deal has been rejected for Travis Foutch, the man who ended a Huerfano County deputy’s career when he allegedly hit the deputy’s patrol car during a pursuit in 2021.
According to a Facebook post by the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), in the early morning hours of May 3, 2021, Foutch was the target of a pursuit that spanned multiple jurisdictions on I-25. The pursuit ended when Foutch allegedly hit Deputy Scott Eckhardt’s patrol car, seriously injuring the deputy.
Deputy Eckhardt gave an impassioned statement at the courthouse on Thursday, April 13, and implored the court to reject the plea deal, based on the suffering Foutch caused to both Eckhardt and his family, and the message it would send to law enforcement members in the county if Foutch’s plea deal were to be accepted.
“Where is my deferred sentence for the damage [Foutch] criminally caused, when do I get to walk away from this like nothing ever happened,” said Eckhardt.
Part of the plea deal entered for Foutch included a deferred sentence, according to Eckhardt’s statement posted to HCSO’s Facebook.
Eckhardt said he suffered numerous severe injuries in the crash that continue to plague him two years later, including a traumatic brain injury, loss of cognitive function, loss of short-term memory, eye function, permanent loss of hearing that now requires hearing aids, and permanent tinnitus, as well as having to undergo multiple facial surgeries to correct a broken nose and damaged nasal cavity.
Eckhart was medically retired from the Sheriff’s Office as a result of the crash, as Eckhardt said he was “no longer able to fulfill [his] duties as a deputy.”
Eckhardt went on to argue that deferring Foutch’s sentence would send the wrong message to current and potential law enforcement members, and to those in the community who might do them harm.
“What message does this send to those that would harm others, including the officers here to protect this community, in Huerfano? That there are no real consequences to face even if you tried to kill an officer,” said Eckhardt in his statement to the court. “Who will protect those who protect if not the DA and this court? If there is no one to protect us and have our backs when we need it how long do you think those who protect the citizens will stay around? Especially if the criminal element in the community finds out there is no punishment for hurting one of us.”
HCSO said after Eckhardt’s “moving statement” to the court, the decision was made to reject the plea deal.
Foutch was originally charged with First Degree Assault, Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Eluding, Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Failure to Drive in a Designated Lane, and Possessing an Open Alcoholic Beverage in a vehicle.