Inmate escapes during transfer to Garfield County jail |

Inmate escapes during transfer to Garfield County jail

Inmate escapes during transfer to Garfield County jail

By John Schroyer

Post Independent Staff

While being transferred from Montana to Garfield County Jail, a male inmate escaped from the Rio Blanco County jail Thursday night.

Zachary Galen Libby, 23, pried a door of the jail’s sally port open by disabling the automatic door mechanism, said Rio Blanco County Dispatch Officer Mike Cook.

“We missed him by minutes,” said Cook Friday afternoon.

A search was immediately initiated. Roadblocks were set up, cars were searched, and tracking dogs were put onto Libby’s trail. But as the sun sank, Libby was still at large.

“By dark, we pretty much called it a wash,” said Cook.

Officials believe that Libby fled into the mountains and is in hiding, said Cook. Officials are not actively searching for Libby, because the amount of mountain terrain they would have to cover would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

“We could spend the next five years searching (and not find him),” said Cook.

Libby has an extensive record in 11 different states, from New Hampshire to Oregon, ranging from traffic offenses to assault charges, the latter of which he was to face arraignment for in Glenwood Springs, along with a charge of smuggling contraband into prison.

Libby’s connection to Glenwood Springs began in March, when he was picked up for second degree trespass, said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario. While in jail, Libby racked up additional charges. However, Libby was able to bond out to attend a rehabilitation facility in Grand Junction. When Libby failed the rehab program, Vallario said his office was ordered to bring him back.

That’s when Libby “escaped” the first time. He fled the Grand Junction facility and made it all the way to Montana before he was picked up, and now, again on his way back to Glenwood, he escaped again.

Vallario doesn’t think Libby poses a threat to anyone, but he acknowledged, “Anybody on the run could be dangerous. There’s nothing in his history to indicate that type of behavior.”

Libby does have a number of aliases, and though there’s a statewide law enforcement alert out for him, Cook said it would be very easy for Libby to hitch a ride to another state and “start all over again.”

Libby is described as caucasion, between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, red hair with a partial beard. On his right arm is a tattoo of a cartoon woman that extends from his shoulder to his elbow, and on his left arm is a tattoo of the words “truth or consequences.”

Anyone with information on Libby’s whereabout should contact the Garfield County Sheriff’s office at 970-945-0453 or the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s office at 970-878-9620.

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