Crime, Criminal Justice, Weld County

Eaton man on trial for driving through crowd passes out during closing arguments; verdict postponed

GREELEY — The man accused of driving his vehicle through a crowded rally was taken by ambulance from the Weld County Courthouse on Wednesday morning just as his three-day trial was wrapping up — two and one-half years after Isaiah Cordova was initially arrested.

Prosecutor Katherine Fitzgerald was at the end of her final closing remarks when Cordova passed out. The 23-year-old slumped over into his attorney Robert Ray before falling backward in his chair to the ground.

Isaiah Cordova

The defendant’s parents and several Weld County deputies rushed to his side. He was eventually taken out of the courtroom on a gurney by paramedics. At the time he was taken out of the courtroom, he was sitting up and responding to questions.

Cordova was initially arrested in July 2020 on seven counts of first-degree assault, seven counts of felony menacing, and one count of reckless driving. The charges came after Cordova was accused of jumping curbs and driving through a park nearly hitting more than a dozen people, including four young children.

On Jan. 6, 2021, the DA’s office amended the charges to eight counts of felony menacing, seven counts of first-degree attempted murder, and seven counts of crime of violence.

One count of attempted murder and one menacing charge was dismissed during the trial. The verdict will be decided by Weld County’s new Chief Justice Julie Hoskins — set now for the day before Christmas Eve.

The crimes took place at a “Back the Blue” rally along Collins St. just west of U.S. 85 in the northern Weld County community of Eaton. It drew at least 300 people with flags, signs, and music. The rally was organized by the Northern Colorado Young Republicans and was the largest held in Weld County at a time when police were under fire from a segment of the community and multiple rallies were being held across the state to show support. Previous rallies in Greeley, Evans and in front of the Weld Sheriff’s Office had all been peaceful.

About 30 minutes in, Cordova was seen in a red SUV taunting the crowd while driving east along Collins, yelling and flipping off supporters before jumping the curb and driving through the crowd.

Cordova, who has a history of contempt for law enforcement, has been free on a $5,000 bond since his arrest.

During testimony, Cordova said he was a Black Lives Matter supporter and for that reason could not support a rally for law enforcement. He also admitted to taunting the crowd by driving by and yelling at them, “flipping them off,” and playing loud music aimed at vilifying the police.

Ray argued that Cordova lost control of his vehicle when a rally attendee threw a bottle at his vehicle. Cordova then said he took his foot off the gas; however, Fitzgerald brought forward several witnesses that said they believed it was an act of retaliation and that Cordova not only accelerated once into the crowd, but turned into the crowd and accelerated again.

Fitzgerald recalled several of the eyewitness’ testimony to show Cordova did not accidentally end up in the park.

She noted that victim Diane Meyer testified the car accelerated as it came up the hill toward her and she stepped away from the car as it came right at her. The side mirror grazed Meyer’s side and she thought she was going to be killed.

“Micki Holladay made eye contact with him,” Fitzgerald said. “She said, ‘he headed straight for me.’ He didn’t slow down. His speed never changed.”

Had Holladay not seen Cordova coming and jumped to the side he would have hit her, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald then attempted to put holes in Cordova’s testimony during her closing arguments, beginning with his claim that he pulled his foot off the gas.

“Is it reasonable to assume that someone who had the wherewithal to pull their foot off the gas they could not then put that same foot on the brake pedal,” Fitzgerald said. “It is not reasonable.”

Cordova also claimed he slowed down because a man was pointing a gun at him.

“Is it reasonable that you slow down at the same time a man is pointing a gun at you?” Fitzgerald continued to ask.

Fitzgerald then pointed out what Cordova testified to that he didn’t remember, including the events at the time he was hit with the bottle,  turning his steering wheel, or how fast he was going.

“He said he didn’t think he did anything wrong, but when detectives came to the door, he immediately asked if they had a warrant. Why? Because he knew he was in trouble,” Fitzgerald said. “He testified that he was afraid for his life,” she said. “But if he was truly afraid for his life, and he truly wanted to remove himself from that situation, he would have continued to drive up Collins Street, which he agreed on cross examination, would have been the most direct way out of the area.”

Instead, Cordova turned his vehicle and made another pass by the rally, this time through the park.

“Because he was angry, and he was agitated,” Fitzgerald said. In his own statements he said “that he was honking his horn, flipping people off, playing the song “F— the Police.”

It was at that point in the closing arguments that Cordova passed out.

After he was taken to the hospital, the trial resumed with attorneys and Hoskins trying to figure out when to return with her decision.

Hoskins was concerned about handing down her decision too soon without knowing the health of Cordova. She said if she returned with a guilty verdict, he would have to be remanded to the county jail, and it would not be proper to send him to a tight enclosed space not knowing if he was infected with something he could spread to other inmates.

But she also recognized that his passing out could also simply be anxiety of the realization of a possible guilty verdict.

“He is 23,” Hoskins said, adding that the realization that if she finds him guilty, he could be in jail “for a very long time” is a lot of stress.

After a short discussion with attorneys on both sides, Hoskins postponed her verdict to 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 23.


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