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Durango laundromat owner injured by disgruntled customer

Police say suspect used his van to pin victim against a wall

A Durango laundromat owner suffered a broken arm and dislocated wrist after a disgruntled customer pinned him against a wall with his van March 19.

The Durango Police Department is looking for Jason Morrison, 51, who allegedly backed his van into Clark Kelman outside North Main Laundry, pinning Kelman against a wall before driving away, according to police. Kelman owns North Main Laundry located at 2980 Main Ave., as well as Town Plaza Laundry.

A felony warrant for first-degree assault has been issued for Morrison’s arrest.

Police tracked the van used in the assault, a 1990s Ford Econoline registered to Morrison to the address on the vehicle’s registration, but were unable to locate Morrison, whom police believe may have fled the area in a second vehicle, said Durango Police Detective Colin Harvey.

Harvey interviewed Kelman, who had a broken right arm and dislocated right wrist, at Mercy Hospital shortly after the incident.

“Basically he told me that he was at the laundromat doing maintenance and cleaning and there was a gentleman leaving the laundromat who Mr. Kelman just kind of shouted out to saying, ‘Hey, thanks for coming in, thanks for your business.’ And Mr. Kelman says the male became verbally combative and was upset,” Harvey said.

Morrison said he was upset about the laundromat’s new ownership and complained the machines were taking longer than he felt they should. Kelman said he offered Morrison a refund or any money he felt he was owed but that Morrison continued to berate him. Kelman followed Morrison outside, telling him there was no need to be upset and again offered a refund. Morrison got behind the wheel of the van and surveillance footage shows Kelman standing beside the vehicle talking with Morrison for a brief moment.

“Then Mr. Kelman goes behind the vehicle to take a photograph of the license plate, which he said was just kind of, you know, anytime he has issues with customers he tries to snap a photo of either the customer or the license plate, just in case they were to come back and damage the building or he had any future altercations with the individual,” Harvey said.

When Kelman walked behind the van, footage shows the van “lurching forward and then you can see the reverse lights come on and the vehicle backs up and hits Mr. Kelman pinning his arm and kind of the right side of his body against the wall,” Harvey said.

Morris has been arrested in the past but DPD is in the process of tracking down exactly where he was arrested and on what charges.


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