Othello man faces 4 felony, 2 misdemeanor charges from 1 incident

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 19, 2014 

A motorist stopped for a defective headlight now faces six charges for trying to pass off another man's driver's license as his own, driving a stolen pickup with plates taken from a different truck and possessing two stolen firearms.

Michael Curtis Colley, 28, of Othello, pleaded innocent in Franklin County Superior Court.

He has two separate cases, though the allegations in both revolve around a New Year's Eve traffic stop in Pasco.

The felony charges are possessing a stolen motor vehicle, second-degree identity theft, possessing a stolen firearm and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

He also has charges of making false or misleading statements to a public servant and third-degree possessing stolen property, both gross misdemeanors.

Colley reportedly is a former attorney. His trials are scheduled March 5.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and court documents, Deputy Clifton Conner was eastbound on Court Street at 10 p.m. Dec. 31 when he saw a beige Chevrolet Silverado with a defective light traveling in the opposite direction.

Conner turned around to stop the truck for the violation and activated his emergency lights, but the Chevrolet continued driving for a while until the deputy used his siren, he said.

The driver handed Conner a license for a 22-year-old man with a different name, but the deputy immediately knew it wasn't him because the picture didn't match. The driver then gave a different first name, but by that time Conner recognized him as Colley from a prior contact, documents said.

Colley repeated "Who am I? Who am I?" and "How do you know me?" as Conner ordered him out of the truck when the driver made a move towards the center console. Colley was handcuffed and then confirmed his true name.

Colley claimed the truck belonged to a friend of his female passenger, Adel Isidra Estrada, 38, but wouldn't answer why he was driving it, documents said.

Meanwhile, a Pasco officer dealing with Estrada reportedly had a similar experience with her showing another woman's license, then giving a fake name that led dispatchers to discover her true identity and that she had outstanding warrants.

As Estrada was getting out of the truck, another deputy saw a semiautomatic handgun on the front passenger-side floorboard, documents said.

Colley has an August 2013 felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance with no prescription, and is not allowed to own or possess guns.

Colley was booked into the Franklin County jail, while Warden police tried to contact the registered owner of the Chevrolet. Officers in the Grant County town finally reached the owner later Jan. 1 and found out that the man had his truck. However, he discovered his license plates had been swapped out so his truck had the plates for the stolen Chevrolet, court documents said.

Conner read the vehicle identification number of the Chevrolet and confirmed it had been stolen Dec. 30 from Othello.

After getting a search warrant for the stolen truck on Jan. 4, deputies seized a Springfield Armory .40-caliber handgun from the floorboard. The gun had a magazine with 16 bullets and a laser attached under the barrel, and was in a black, nylon holster.

A Norinco rifle, with 18 bullets in the magazine, was found under the rear seat on the floor.

Both firearms had been reported stolen in a Grant County case, though the rifle hadn't been listed because the owner was unable to give authorities a serial number, documents said.

A backpack in the rear seat, from which Colley allegedly got the wrong driver's license, also had three magazines, each filled with 16 .40-caliber bullets. The backpack also held 19 other bullets.

Deputies found a checkbook inside Estrada's purse. The checkbook was in the name of a couple who are the parents of the man whose license Colley handed over in the traffic stop, court documents said.

A file folder recovered from the floor near the gun had 11 checks totaling $105,750, with the largest check for $96,401 from one company to another. Colley's name was not on any of the found checks, documents said.

Colley is being held on bail for the two firearm charges, along with four failure-to-appear orders. Estrada remains in the Franklin County jail pending similar charges.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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