Dealing with mental health |

Dealing with mental health

Two major cases before the Douglas County courts are awaiting mental health evaluations. The defendants in those cases languish in our jail awaiting a spot at Lakes Crossing in Sparks.

Douglas County District Judge Tod Young has ordered evaluations for Christopher Debastiani and Stefon Jefferson.

Both men are in custody for eluding deputies in high-speed vehicle chases from Lake Tahoe to Carson Valley.

Debastiani was the driver of a motorhome that left a shower of sparks as he traveled on the rims through Carson Valley before he was apprehended in Gardnerville on Aug. 26, 2018. He is denying his behavior was criminal, though he has confirmed he was driving the motorhome.

Jefferson has admitted to shooting a Douglas County deputy after an exchange on Kingsbury Grade.

On Tuesday, Debastiani had to be dragged from the courtroom kicking and screaming accusations, after Young raised the evaluation.

In that case, Debastiani’s July trial date was vacated pending a determination he is competent to participate in his defense. As Young observed on Tuesday, that evaluation is critical in light of his behavior. And no responsible judge would allow Jefferson to plead guilty to the charges he’s facing until it has been determined he’s competent to do so.

The judge said he’s heard that Lakes Crossing is full, and there isn’t room for the two defendants. That doesn’t bode well for anyone, including the two men involved.

Hopefully, the judge will make some headway in getting the men evaluated.

In the meantime, Douglas County jail deputies are faced with dealing with these two difficult inmates, in addition to the day-to-day madness they face.