A Durango man learned Tuesday that being a good Samaritan can have its downside after he reported he was assaulted by two men to whom he gave a ride.
Casey Larsen was shopping at the Walmart in Cortez about noon when he was approached by two panhandlers, La Plata County Sheriff’s spokesman Dan Bender said Thursday.
Larsen said he didn’t have any loose change but that he was headed home and he would give them a ride, Bender said.
The pair turned out to be father and son, David Nez, 53, and Darrell Nez, 25, both from Tsaili, Ariz., who have been in Southwest Colorado looking for work.
As they headed for Durango in Larsen’s 1988 Chevrolet van, the passengers in the rear seat. Darrell Nez began to drink beer, Bender said.
Larsen stopped at La Plata Canyon and offered them food when the men said they were hungry.
On two occasions Darrell Nez became nauseous, requiring Larsen to stop the vehicle so he could vomit, Bender said.
Approaching Durango West I, Larsen said they would have to get out. Moments later, the younger Nez tossed a dog chain over Larsen’s head and began to strangle him, Bender said.
Larsen slammed on the brakes, throwing Nez off balance and allowing him to remove the chain, Bender said. A fistfight that started in the vehicle continued on the pavement when Larsen stopped the van.
The assailants managed to drive off in the van, leaving Larsen afoot at Durango West I, where a motorist stopped to help.
Law enforcement was alerted at 2:45 p.m., and a short time later Deputy Sheriff Mike Morris located the men in the van on Wildcat Canyon Road (County Road 141) and arrested them.
Father and son are being held in La Plata County jail on $25,000 bond each, facing charges of aggravated robbery, a Class 3 felony, and attempted second-degree assault.
They also have to answer for an earlier failure to appear charges in Durango Municipal Court.