SILT - At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20, Garfield School District Re-2 parents received an email informing them that all schools in their district were being placed on a precautionary "soft lock down."
The lock down involved locking all external doors at all schools in New Castle, Silt and Rifle, and having a school staffer check anyone coming to the front door before admitting them, according to school district spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton.
Classroom activities continued as planned, she added.
The situation began when deputies were notified of a broken down vehicle on west bound I-70, 1.5 miles east of Coal Ridge High School.
Deputies were also told that a man was seen walking away from that vehicle, wrapped in a blanket. However, they were unable to locate the man on foot.
Earlier Thursday, Rifle Police Chief John Dyer said a person associated with the stolen vehicle may be armed.
When law enforcement requested the county emergency communications dispatcher check the license plate of the two-door, 1994 Pontiac Grand Am GT , the vehicle was listed as stolen from Osage County, Mo.
Deputies contacted district officials and recommended a "soft lock down" be implemented as a precaution, until they could determine if there was any threat in the area. The soft lock down was ended at 12:20 p.m.
No contact was ever made with the man believed to have been walking along the roadside. Investigators obtained written consent to search the vehicle from the vehicle owner, but found no weapons or any threat to the public.
We feel confident that all the precautions taken today where in the best interest of safety for our schools, students and staff. We are grateful for the communication and cooperation with parent and school administrators.
SILT - As of 12:20 p.m. Thursday, authorities lifted a "soft lockdown" that
was imposed in the early morning on all Garfield Re-2 schools, while officers
investigated a stolen car found broken down outside Coal Ridge High School.
The Garfield County Sheriff's Department said there was "no specific threat
to any students, staff or schools" in the district. The lockdown was a
precautionary measure taken while deputies investigated the vehicle.
The lockdown involved locking all external doors at all Garfield Re-2
schools in New Castle, Silt and Rifle, and having a school staffer check
anyone coming to the front door before admitting them, according to school
district spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton.
Further information about the vehicle, which Rifle Police Chief John Dyer
said was stolen in Missouri, hasn't been released by the sheriff's
department, nor has information been released about the vehicle's occupants.
Earlier Thursday, Dyer said a person associated with the stolen vehicle may
be armed, and was seen walking toward New Castle.
The Citizen Telegram will update this story as more information becomes
SILT - Authorities are searching for one or more people associated with a car, stolen in Missouri, that broke down in the early morning hours today outside Coal Ridge High School, according to Rifle Police Chief John Dyer.
"This person was seen walking toward New Castle," Dyer said.
A person associated with the vehicle may be armed, Dyer said. That person is may not be the car thief, he added.
"They're waiting for more information from Missouri," Dyer said.
As a result, the Garfield County Sheriff's Office has called for all Garfield Re-2 schools to be on a "soft" lockdown, according to school district spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton.
This means today's school day activities at Re-2 schools in New Castle, Silt and Rifle will function as normal with these precautions:
- All exterior doors are to be locked,
- Students and staff are to remain indoors (today's temperatures would have precluded outdoor activities anyway)
- An authorized representative of the school is posted at the front door of each school to allow other individuals into the building as necessary.
This is a precautionary measure being taken as the Garfield County Sheriff's office and Rifle Police continue to search the area.