A speeder and a Colorado State Trooper exchanged more than a dozen pistol shots after a car chase that reached 100 mph on Hwy 139, with the gun battle ending when the Trooper wounded the assailant in the head.
On the evening of April 14, Trooper Dave Evridge clocked a 1991 Ford Thunderbird at 91 mph in a 65 mph zone on Hwy 139. The trooper activated his lights and siren, but the Thunderbird swerved towards the cruiser and then sped off.
Trooper Evridge pursued the vehicle over Douglas Pass, and followed the Thunderbird until the driver lost control at MP-33 in Garfield County. The car spun around and came to rest facing the patrol.
Evridge stopped his cruiser and then bumped the Thunderbird, and that's when the driver began firing.
Eight shots were fired into the windshield of Trooper Evridge's cruiser as he took cover. Evridge then returned fire, firing five shots, one of which wounded the assailant. The bullet struck the driver in the head and rendered him unconscious. Evridge took the driver into custody, and he was transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, treated, and then taken to Mesa County Jail.
Brandon Meraz, 22, of Glenwood Springs, was arrested on a pre-existing felony warrant, and charged with two counts of first degree murder, first degree assault, and vehicular eluding. A bond has been set at $1,000,000 for Beraz, and he is currently in custody at Garfield County Jail. A female passenger in the car, Amanda Eickstad, 22, of Grand Junction, was questioned and released. She suffered no injuries.
Trooper Evridge is a three-year veteran of the State Patrol, currently stationed in Rangely, Troop B. According to State Patrol procedures, Evridge has been placed on administrative leave.