Accused driver warns against going off mental health medications
The man accused of a crime spree involving stolen vehicles, hit-and-runs, a stolen tractor chase through downtown Denver and biting a police dog wants to let the public know that his mental health issues spiraled out of control and anyone who doesn’t address their mental health problems could wind up in the Denver Downtown Detention Center like him.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” Thomas Busch said in a video interview with The Denver Post on Tuesday. “If people say you’ve got a problem, deal with it. It could be serious. I could be home with my family right now.”
The 37-year-old man dressed in an orange jumpsuit said he doesn’t remember much of July 20, and the parts he does remember he doesn’t want to discuss because of the ongoing case.
“I am sorry for whatever I did do,” Busch said. “I want the families and the people I impacted to know that. I have remorse.”
Busch was charged last week with the following 23 offenses: one count of menacing, three counts of aggravated motor vehicle theft, three counts of failure to report an accident or return to the scene, four counts of careless driving, one count of vehicular assault, one count of leaving the scene of an accident, three counts of second degree criminal trespass, three counts of criminal mischief, one count of criminal attempt to commit aggravated motor vehicle theft, one count of vehicular eluding, one count of resisting arrest and one count of cruelty to a certified police working dog.
A timeline of the alleged crimes on July 20 provided by the Denver Police Department accused Busch of stealing several vehicles, getting into multiple hit-and-run crashes, stealing a Denver Water tractor, evading police, resisting arrest and attacking a police dog.
Busch said he’s been diagnosed for about 10 years with anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and PTSD from a traumatic childhood. He admitted to going off his medications three weeks before the day he is accused of leading police on a slow-speed chase through downtown on a stolen tractor, although he said his wife told him he’d been off his medication much longer.
“I should have gone back on it,” Busch said. “I should have listened to my wife. She said I was becoming a different person off it. The medication worked, and I was able to function in society. It was like not too long ago I was at work, paying my bills and supporting my family.”
Busch said he was a local carpenter and considered himself skilled at his job.
The inmate said he struggled with addiction but claimed he wasn’t under the influence on July 20, adding that he had taken Adderall a few days before the alleged tractor chase.
His addiction problems centered around drugs, he said, including coke, heroin and opiates.
“It’s been an ongoing battle,” Busch said. “At one time in my life, I had 5 years, 6 months clean. It was great.”
Busch said he’s been to treatment centers for his mental health and addiction problems and is currently trying to get admitted to another.
“I’m going to get help,” Busch said. “Tell my family I love them, and I miss them. Dad will be home as soon as he gets his head fixed.”
Busch is representing himself in court and is being held on a $50,000 bond. He said he doesn’t want a public defender but is looking for a lawyer to take on his case.
Busch is interested in filing a lawsuit in response to how he claimed Denver Police treated him on July 20, saying he was already handcuffed and unconscious when Denver Police tased him and used their police dogs on him.
“They used me as a dummy,” Busch said.
Denver Police previously claimed Busch bit and choked their police dog, Zeke, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Busch’s treatment.
“I just hope to get back with my family and back with my kids,” Busch said.