Former college coach arrested again
Bizarre incident at Castle Heights was disturbing but posed no danger, cops say
A beloved former USU Eastern basketball coach is behind bars after sparking a lockdown on the campus of Castle Heights Elementary on Friday afternoon.
According to police, Christopher Craig, 32, drove his vehicle onto the school playground, got out of his car and began banging on a classroom window on Friday shortly before the students were released from school. Craig was quickly taken into custody while walking near the school campus, according to Price Police Captain Bill Barnes.
Craig was seen being placed into a police car on Friday while dressed in green Arabic-style clothing, sunglasses and had a gray shirt wrapped around his head.
The incident caused the school to go on lockdown, with students and teachers moving from one wing of the school to another for safety precautions, according to Carbon School District Superintendent Steve Carlsen.
"The situation didn't cause a great disturbance but the school was placed under lockdown until everything was resolved," Carlsen said in a phone interview Monday morning.
While some students and teachers were shaken up from the incident, no one was placed in any immediate danger as police quickly moved in and placed Craig under arrest, Barnes said.
"No one was in any danger during the incident," said Barnes.
Craig has a child that attends Castle Heights and was intending to pick up the child from school. However, Craig's child was not in school on Friday, Barnes explained.
The entire situation, from Craig arriving at the school to being placed in custody, lasted around five minutes, Barnes said. An officer, who was dealing with an unrelated matter, was in the area and made contact with Craig, who was driving a white Honda Civic when he arrived in the area. Barnes said the department is familiar with Craig from previous run-ins and the officer went to engage him about his presence in the area.
Craig drove away out of the officer's sight due to the buses in the pick-up area, driving over a curb coming to a stop in a playground area. Barnes said the officer was unsure whether Craig drove around to the back of the school when the call went out for backup.
Officers from Price City, Carbon County Sheriff's and USU Eastern quickly arrived on the scene as the street was lined with cars of parents waiting nearby to pick up their children. Carlsen said the elementary schools in the district have an early release from school on Fridays at 1:30 p.m.
Marie Leonard, a resident near Castle Heights Elementary, said she saw a number of police cars, including from Price City, Carbon County Sheriff's Office and USU Eastern Police, converge on the area along Homestead Boulevard.
"Officers were all over the place looking around and talking to the parents nearby waiting to pick up their children," said Leonard.
Police quickly moved Craig's car out of the school area. Police photos show the car was spray painted with a bible verse on the trunk, a heart with the letter "G" in the middle on the roof and a sentence written on the driver-side door saying "I'm NOT THE Easter Bunny!!!!"
Friday's incident is one of a long line of bizarre behavior over the past year. Craig left his position as head mens coach at Midland College last March. He resigned shortly after posting end-of-the-world prophecies and information about conspiracy theories on his Twitter account.
Craig was arrested in July last year after he disrupted a class on the campus of Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Ariz., while making derogatory statements about Catholics and Mormons. He was held in the Graham County Jail for a few days before being released after the local district attorney declined to press charges. Police in Colorado cities including Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs warned residents in their city after Craig allegedly made threats towards Catholics and Mormons. Craig was spotted in a Steamboat Springs parking lot when a person called 911 noting that a suspicious man was driving around with a shirt wrapped around his head, hanging out the car window and videotaping himself.
Price City police arrested Craig in August when he returned to the area due to an outstanding misdemeanor drug possession warrant. As the former coach was searched during the arrest process, police located suspected marijuana, drug paraphernalia and shotgun shells. Craig was subsequently booked into the Carbon County Jail for possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and the outstanding warrant.
Response to the incident quickly hit social media as the picture of Craig being placed in police car garnered over 8,000 views on Facebook. Responses ranged from people wondering how a person could do such a thing, the response to the situation, and to former players coached by Craig seeing the news for the first time.
"WOW," said a comment written by former USU Eastern basketball player Jonathan Mills.
"This is wild Jimmy," said Vander Joaquim to former teammate Jimmy Bosserman while discussing the topic.
Craig is still being held at the Carbon County Jail as of Monday morning on a $19,000 bond. He is facing misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, driving on a suspended license and failure to provide identification to an officer when asked. Craig is scheduled for an initial appearance in court on Wednesday.
According to Barnes, Craig has refused any contact or support from Four Corners Community Behavioral Health as of Monday morning.