ASPEN — Without help, Paul Britvar just couldn’t stop drinking and driving.

Time and again, the 49-year-old Britvar, a second-generation Aspen
stonemason, wound up before county court Judge Fernandez Ely with new
charges — six drunken driving allegations over the past 10 years.

Once Britvar got two DUIs in one day, an episode that ended with him nearly drowned in a drainage ditch, he said.

But help for Britvar came in the form of a 6-foot-6, 225-pound former Marine.

Earlier in the year, Britvar violated a bond by driving under the
influence while out on work release from the Pitkin County Jail, and
the judge decided to lock him up for six months. But after Britvar
served five of those months, his attorney, Ted Hess, got together with
court officials and jail staff to come up with a unique solution:
Britvar was assigned a bodyguard, one who would match him nearly pound
for pound (Britvar is 6 feet, 4 inches and 310 pounds). It’s a solution
being applied more and more as judges and substance abusers look for
alternatives to incarceration.

Britvar’s personal assistant
is Britvar was assigned a bodyguard, one who would match him nearly
pound for pound (Britvar is 6 feet, 4 inches and 310 pounds).

Robert
Jamison, of Marble, is a former military man and security specialist
who once guarded the ex-governor of Texas. He’s been following Britvar
for a month, driving him to jobs and keeping him accountable. And, so
far, it’s working.

Don Bird, the Pitkin County Jail administrator, has seen a lot of Britvar over the years.

“Lots
of guys say they’re cured,” Bird said. “I’m not naive enough to believe
that every guy who says he’s healed is healed.” But, he added, coming
up with creative solutions, such as a hired bodyguard, is part of the
upper valley’s “enlightened system of justice.”

In other areas,
alleged offenders are simply “warehoused,” Bird said, but because of
light crime in the upper valley and a lot of local resources, law
enforcement officials and the courts are able to help people.

“In Paul’s case, he had obviously lost our trust,” Bird said.

Because Britvar could afford it, officials allowed him to hire a
bodyguard, which not only gave jailers some comfort as another “layer
of protection” during Britvar’s work release but gave Britvar a chance
to re-enter society, Bird said.

The jail administrator credits Britvar’s will to take charge of his life, but he’s skeptical.

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