Petite suspect hot-headed in skirmish with troopers

VENESSA JARAMILLO She was issued a $25,000 cash-only bond

A woman who had earlier fled Colorado State Patrol troopers was somehow able to commandeer a patrol car and crash it during a wild sequence of events Friday afternoon and evening in De Beque Canyon.

The woman, identified Saturday as Venessa Jaramillo, 29, initially hoofed it across Interstate 70 near the Beaver Tail tunnels and jumped in the Colorado River to avoid arrest, according to the State Patrol. That was after troopers arrived to respond to a crash in the westbound lanes that happened about 3:40 p.m., which involved a truck stolen out of Montezuma County.

Jaramillo and a man later identified as Nickolas Mascarenas, 36, fled the crashed truck, but Jaramillo was taken into custody a short time after, despite her attempts to make a watery escape.

While in the custody of the State Patrol, Jaramillo "stole a CSP patrol car," as the agency put it in a press release issued Saturday, and led law enforcement from multiple agencies on a pursuit that ended in a crash near the foot of De Beque Canyon about 5:30 p.m.

Mascarenas was arrested while walking the streets of Palisade later Friday night, and the State Patrol said that he has outstanding felony warrants from Eagle and Lake counties. Jaramillo has two outstanding misdemeanor warrants and one felony warrant out of Lake County, authorities said.

A bevy of agencies responded to the rolling incident, including the State Patrol, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, the De Beque Marshal's Office, the De Beque Fire Department, and the Palisade and Grand Junction police departments.

Adding to the chaos, a trooper responding to the scene with his emergency lights and siren activated was involved in a crash with a motorcycle, the State Patrol also reported. That crash near the Palisade exit involved minor injuries to the motorcycle rider, and prompted this press statement from Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard:

"Even though aspects of this incident are still under investigation, this serves to highlight the epidemic of auto theft in Colorado, and the importance of motorcycle operators to wear a complete set of protective gear," Packard is quoted as saying.

Both suspects are likely to appear Monday in Mesa County Court to be advised on charges associated with the incident.

Jaramillo faces possible charges including first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding, DUI, failing to report an accident and impersonating a police officer.

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