Grand Junction man in GarCo jail after chase along airport runway
A Grand Junction man remained in Garfield County Jail on Wednesday following a lengthy police chase that culminated when, deputies allege, he drove down an airport runway after they tried to arrest him at gunpoint.
Jason Allen Lewis, 28, was being held in lieu of $75,000 bond.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department said dispatchers advised deputies around 7 p.m. Friday of a car driving erratically on Interstate 70. Deputies determined the vehicle was stolen in Grand Junction.
Deputies located the vehicle on County Road 315 east of Rifle, and a short chase ensued before they called it off. Within minutes, they found the vehicle, which had crashed into a stack of pipes being used in a pipeline project. Lewis had fled, and a police dog and his handler were unable to find him after an hourlong search, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Close to 11 p.m., deputies were notified of a burglary in progress about a mile and a half from the crash site, in a residence on County Road 352 southeast of the Garfield County Regional Airport. Jewelry and clothing were taken, and deputies found shoe prints identical to ones left at the earlier chase scene, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Another police dog and handler tracked Lewis for about an hour, which led police to the airport. There, around 1 a.m., deputies saw a Chevrolet Suburban driving on the airport tarmac. It then reversed at a high speed and headed toward the hangars.
Deputies tried to detain Lewis at gunpoint, but he drove around them, and a vehicle pursued the Suburban down the tarmac. Deputies notified the airport to shut down air traffic to the runway.
The Sheriff’s Department said Lewis traveled across the runway, took out about 50 yards of perimeter fencing and went down an embankment before the vehicle came to rest. He fled, but deputies found him hiding in brush and arrested him.
Lewis was treated at Grand River Hospital in Rifle for injuries sustained in the crashes.
Damage to the airport was estimated at $1,500.
Lewis was arrested on suspicion of aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding, second-degree burglary, trespass, theft, criminal mischief and other possible charges.
He has a long history of arrests for motor vehicle theft, burglary, theft, arson and other charges in Delta and Mesa counties, including for aggravated motor vehicle theft and other alleged crimes in Mesa County this year.