Officer shoots, kills man fleeing on I-70 near Glenwood | PostIndependent.com
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Officer shoots, kills man fleeing on I-70 near Glenwood

Will Grandbois
wgrandbois@postindependent.com

A man died Tuesday after being shot by law officers at the end of a chase along Interstate 70.

Authorities said the man was jumped out of his vehicle at the Canyon Creek exit west of Glenwood Springs and held a gun to his head. He ignored deputies’ orders, ran toward the interstate and was shot.

He was taken to Valley View Hospital and later pronounced dead.

Eastbound I-70 was closed and backed up through the evening. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was at the scene to begin an investigation.

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Walt Stowe said the incident began around 4:15 p.m. when deputies attempted to contact the man about his involvement in a felony domestic violence call in the Parachute area. He fled in a red pickup truck onto I-70 eastbound at mile marker 81.

Deputies pursued the man, the sole occupant of the truck, at speeds topping 95 mph until he encountered a set of spikes set by the Colorado State Patrol, which punctured his front tires and prompted him to exit the highway at Canyon Creek a bit before 5 p.m.

The truck went up the exit ramp and started back down the entrance ramp before coming to a stop. A news release from Stowe said it was at that point he got out of the truck with the gun and ran toward the freeway before being shot.

No one else was injured in the incident.

I-70 eastbound was closed from mile marker 105 to 109 until about 9:45 p.m., creating a major traffic backup.

Canyon Creek Estates resident Sonja Linman said she sent an email to neighbors advising them of the interstate closure, and saying the incident did not pose a danger to the neighborhood.

“Everyone here seems pretty calm,” she said. “We’re all hunkered down, since we can’t get back into (Glenwood Springs).”

Linman did get a surprise visit from friend Kim Wille, who was on her way back from a meeting in New Castle when she got caught in the traffic jam due to the highway closure. Wille said she managed to make her way from New Castle to Canyon Creek on Highway 6.

“I got there shortly after it happened, and saw the police cars speeding past, then they diverted us back off the interstate,” said Wille, who was hoping to spend the evening celebrating her birthday with friends.

Tuesday’s was the second fatal shooting by law officers on I-70 in Garfield County in less than a year.

On May 8, 2014, two state troopers en route to Glenwood Springs for training spotted a red 2006 BMW parked on the side of the road in Glenwood Canyon about a mile west of the Garfield-Eagle county line.

The troopers, Eugene Hofacker and Shane Gosnell, pulled over, following a policy regarding stopped vehicles in the canyon.

The driver of the BMW, Thomas Ornelas, 40, of Montrose, turned out to be drunk, transporting cocaine and armed. Out on bond awaiting trial in Mesa County on attempted murder and other charges, Ornelas opened fire on Hofacker, hitting him three times.

Gosnell, hearing shots, came around the patrol car and fired 14 shots, hitting Ornelas 11 times and killing him.

Post Independent reporter John Stroud contributed to this report.


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