Monument rangers arrest Fruita man after wreck

A 30-year-old Fruita man faces federal charges that he drove a stolen vehicle into a welcome sign on Colorado National Monument on Friday night, monument officials said.

Jason Rowland Mathis was booked into Mesa County Jail after park rangers discovered the smashed sign on DS Road, located an abandoned vehicle and contacted Mathis, who was walking nearby along the roadway. 

A motorist reported seeing a smashed vehicle leaving the crash site shortly before the vehicle was found near Red Canyon on Rim Rock Drive, officials said.

Rangers checked the vehicle’s license plate, which was traced to a vehicle owner in Montrose, who had reported the car stolen two years ago. The vehicle identification number had been nearly destroyed, rangers said.

Mathis was booked on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, destroying federal property, leaving the crash site and driving with a suspended license.

He is scheduled for arraignment Monday in federal court.

Mathis has a lengthy arrest record in Colorado for charges including aggravated vehicle thefts, sex assault, possession of narcotics equipment, child abuse, traffic offenses and parole violations. He is a convicted felon who was out on parole after his third prison term since 2000, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.


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