Woman leaps into Colorado River from I-70 to avoid lawmen as numerous crashes ensue
MESA COUNTY — With multiple incidents in one afternoon, a pair of suspects kept the personnel of Colorado State Patrol busy Friday, according to a release from the agency.
At approximately 3:42 p.m. Friday, June 7, troopers received a call on a possible crash on westbound Interstate 70, east of Beaver Tail Tunnel, milepost 49.
It was determined the vehicle in the incident was stolen out of Montezuma County, the release said. As a trooper arrived, two occupants fled the scene. The female driver crossed the interstate on foot and jumped into the Colorado River to avoid the trooper.
The suspect was caught shortly after and taken into custody, and while the female was in custody, she stole a CSP patrol car.
A pursuit ensued and the stolen patrol car crashed on I-70 at MP 59. She was taken into custody and transported to the Mesa County Jail.
The female suspect is identified as Venessa Jaramillo, 29, who is also wanted on two misdemeanor warrants, and one felony warrant out of Lake County.
The male passenger from the stolen vehicle, Nickolas Mascarenas, 36, was taken into custody at 8:57 p.m. by a Palisade police officer while walking in the city of Palisade. He also has outstanding felony warrants out of Eagle County, and Lake County, according to the release.
During the incident on I-70, a state trooper responding to the scene with his emergency lights and siren activated was involved in a crash with a motorcycle. The motorcycle rider had minor injuries, transported for medical care by the trooper as a precaution.
The crash is still under investigation in a joint effort with the Grand Junction Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol.
“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 CSP Chief Matthew Packard.
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.