A woman driving a stolen vehicle attempted to evade Colorado State Patrol officers after crashing the vehicle on Interstate 70, jumping into the Colorado River and then stealing a patrol car during her arrest.
Grand Junction police officers were the first to respond to a disabled vehicle on westbound I-70 just east of Beaver Tail Tunnel Friday afternoon, according to a state patrol press release.
State patrol also responded to the disabled vehicle. Troopers reported that Venessa Jaramillo, 29, ran from the vehicle, crossed the interstate and jumped into the Colorado River to escape police. The vehicle she had been driving was determined to be stolen out of Montezuma County, according to state patrol.
After being caught from the river, Jaramillo managed to steal a patrol car while being arrested.
The press release stated that troopers chased the woman until she crashed the stolen patrol car on I-70 near mile marker 59. A half dozen law enforcement agencies responded to the incident.
A male passenger in the vehicle was also arrested. Police reported that Nickolas Mascarenas, 36, had outstanding felony warrants out of Eagle and Lake counties. Jaramillo was also wanted on two misdemeanor warrants and one felony warrant out of Lake County, police said.
Adding to the chaos, state patrol said that a trooper responding to the stolen patrol vehicle was hit by a motorcyclist on I-70 near mile marker 42. State patrol said the trooper had activated emergency lights and siren, and that the motorcyclist was taken to a hospital after with minor injuries.
“Even though aspects of this incident are still under investigation, this serves to highlight the epidemic of auto theft in Colorado, and the importance of motorcycle operators to wear a complete set of protective gear,” said Matthew Packard, of the Colorado State Patrol.
Ivan Alvarado, a state patrol corporal, could only speculate as to how Jaramillo was able to steal the patrol car. He said that she was in the back seat in handcuffs, and could have crawled through the small window in the cage divider between seats to reach the front.
Alvarado stressed that while it is possible to make such a maneuver, it’s definitely not easy.
“You would have to be really small,” said Alvarado.
The patrol vehicle is a key-less ignition car, which Alvarado figured is how Jaramillo was able to drive it. The key fob was not in the vehicle, but the ignition was on, said Alvarado.
Jaramillo is being held at the Mesa County jail.
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