EATON – What started out as a pro-police rally and canned food drive, turned violent Saturday as a counter protester recklessly jumped curbs and drove through a park nearly hitting more than a dozen people, including four young children.
The rally, which ran along Collins St. just west of U.S. 85 in the northern Weld County community of Eaton started at 3 p.m. and drew at least 300 people with flags, signs, and music. The rally, which was organized by the Northern Colorado Young Republicans, was the largest so far in Weld County. Previous rallies in Greeley, Evans and in front of the Weld Sheriff’s Office have all been peaceful.
About 30 minutes in, however, the driver of a red SUV began taunting the crowd driving east along Collins yelling and flipping off supporters.
Eaton resident Carlee Hauska and her two young children saw the man drive by the first time, but she thought he gave up as she crossed the street to let her children play with other children in the grassy area on the south side of the street. Hauska said her two boys and a neighbor boy were running into the grass when she heard glass shatter.
“I turned to look what was going on and heard him squeal his tires and turn around to face Heritage Market,” Hauska said. “He just floored it and went into the grass.”
Hauska said her heart sank as she watch the three boys ages 3, 7 and 9 running toward the path of the SUV.
“I just ran and scooped up the kids and saw him turn around again into the grass,” Hauska said. “I’ve never been so scared of something. It’s something you only see in a movie. Just two minutes earlier and they would have been right there.”
Fortunately for Hauska, her boys were all OK, but the driver of the SUV wasn’t finished , he continued west on the grass into the park, before turning back north to exit onto the sidewalk and Collins St. and head back west, this time nearly hitting a family of 11, who drove from Fort Lupton to participate.
Charlene Michel, her husband and nine children, wanted to go to the police rally last weekend in Denver but turned away when they saw the problems. So they chose to make the hour drive to Eaton this weekend to show their support for the men and women in blue, they said.
Michel said the first time the man came through it looked like he was holding his steering wheel with his knees with his hands in the air.
“He swerved that time,” she said. “It looked like he was distracted.”
Michel didn’t think anything of it until he came back through the grass and all 11 family members had to dive for their lives out of the way. The driver appeared to aim for the family, other witnesses told Complete Colorado.
An undercover Eaton police patrol car was nearby when the incident occurred and chased the suspect down the street. Police arrested 21-year-old Eaton resident Isaiah Cordova. He is in Weld County jail, charged with seven counts of 1st Degree Assault, seven counts of felony menacing and one count of reckless driving. A second individual in the incident was cited with a municipal citation for throwing missiles.
“I never thought something like that would happen in a small town,” Hauska said. “I was so proud to see so many people out there. It speaks volumes to what a tight knit community we have.”