Crime Briefs: Man drinks then drives into Rifle Midland building; barbecue grill theft lands man in jail on Christmas |

Crime Briefs: Man drinks then drives into Rifle Midland building; barbecue grill theft lands man in jail on Christmas

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An apparently intoxicated driver crashed into the iconic pillars of the Midland Building on Sunday morning.

“It appears based on the evidence that he drove west on East Third Street, he hit a ‘no parking’ sign, and swerved, and his truck struck the building,” Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein said.

The suspect, a 23-year-old man, began driving away from the scene but didn’t make it far before a police officer spotted him.

“The officer said there were significant sparks coming out of the back of the truck,” Klein said. One of the truck’s front tires was “perpendicular to the roadway,” Klein added.

The driver exhibited clear signs of intoxication. He was booked in the Garfield County Jail, and faces misdemeanor charges including careless driving, accident involving damage, and obstructing government operations, as well as driving under the influence.

Klein said he hopes the pillars of the building can be repaired.

“The posts on that building are iconic. They’re part of Rifle’s history, and it’s a shame that they were destroyed,” Klein said.


On Christmas Day, at approximately 3:14 p.m., the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office was advised of a man breaking into a vehicle near the Rifle Garfield County Airport. 

According to the arrest affidavit, a truck driver passed a broken-down silver sedan that was red-tagged for towing after striking a deer.

However, on the truck driver’s way back, he noticed a man wearing a black ball cap, white hoodie and a black jacket appearing to break into the silver sedan. 

“The driver’s side window had been broken out,” according to the affidavit.

The man was “was wearing black rubber gloves that would have protected his hands,” the affidavit also stated.

When a deputy arrived on scene, the 34-year-old man claimed he was just “taking some stuff” from the vehicle before it was towed.

The suspect also claimed he had permission to remove the items because his friend “told him he could.”

The man could not provide his friend’s full name or contact information. 

According to the affidavit, the man was attempting to remove a barbecue grill located inside of the broken-down vehicle.

Through further investigation, the actual owner of the car was contacted and reported the window was intact when the vehicle was left for towing.

Additionally, the owner confirmed having no idea who the 34-year-old male suspect was. 

The man was placed under arrest and while searching him, deputies located what appeared to be illegal narcotics.

The man was booked into the Garfield County Jail and charged with the following: possession of a schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance, criminal mischief, first degree criminal trespass, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft.


On Dec. 29, shortly before 1 a.m., an officer with the Silt Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with an unreadable license plate. 

Upon contacting the 34-year-old female driver, the officer noticed an open alcohol container inside the vehicle too. 

According to the arrest affidavit, the woman did not have a valid driver’s license or proof of insurance and provided the officer with what was later revealed to be a fictitious name.

While searching the vehicle’s glove compartment, the officer located a piece of paper with a name on it.

At first, the driver claimed that was not her name.

However, a short while later the female asked the officer “is it too late to tell you that’s me?” 

The female suspect was arrested and lodged into the Garfield County Jail and charged with the following: criminal impersonation, possession of drug paraphernalia, vehicle number plates not clearly legible, compulsory insurance, driving while under restraint and having an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle.

Glenwood Springs Post Independent reporter Thomas Phippen contributed to this report.

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