A man was arrested after investigators say he stole a Park County Sheriff’s patrol vehicle, evaded police and was shot at by deputies in the early morning hours on Monday.
Jeremiah James Taylor, 33, allegedly broke into the unstaffed Park County Sheriff’s Lake George substation and stole a marked 2013 Dodge Durango. He then went to the location of a domestic violence call just before 3:30 a.m. that was broadcast on the Teller County police channel. The people at the home said Taylor appeared to be intoxicated. They said he asked, “where’s the old man that’s going to shoot someone?”
When Teller County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived, he sped off.
“That was one of my biggest concerns that we were going to have a high-speed pursuit with a law enforcement vehicle crashing into an innocent citizen,” Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said.
Taylor was spotted about two hours later and when deputies pursued him, they say he took off, hitting speeds of up to 110 mph, and broke several traffic laws during the chase.
Taylor crashed on Matakat Road around Mile Marker 4 and ran into the woods, police said. When deputies caught up with him, he was armed with a knife and noncompliant. Deputies deployed a Taser at Taylor and an officer shot at least one round, Teller County Sheriff’s Office said. No deputies were injured.
The Sheriff’s Office said Taylor suffered self-inflicted knife wounds and was taken to the hospital after he was taken into custody.
In addition to the list of charges he’s facing for this incident, Taylor was also on probation for menacing, theft and DUI along with being investigated for several other crimes that occurred in the area previous to the Park County Sheriff’s Office burglary. The charges in this case are:
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact the Park County Sheriff at 719-836-4121 Option 5 or the Teller County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division at 719-687-9652.
For several months now, the Park County Sheriff’s Office has been pleading for help as they are severely short-staffed and unable to police the county around the clock due to a staff shortage.
In March, Sheriff Thomas McGraw told FOX31 that he currently has eight deputies and would like to see the office with at least 18. He had to cut the night shift causing patrols to stop from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. and deputies would only respond to emergencies.
McGraw said two deputies will be on call overnight and only respond to emergency calls, like burglary or domestic violence, but residents can expect a wait of one to two hours. McGraw said surrounding jurisdictions can help with calls if they have the staff available, but the wait will increase for country residents because of travel time and availability.
McGraw said that the Colorado State Patrol helps with major accidents, but they are short-staffed as well.
In early April, Jefferson County deputies stepped in to respond to a call of shots fired and when deputies arrived outside the gate of 395 Gatewood Court, they encountered a man who was carrying a rifle outside of the residence. The man fired numerous shots in the direction of the deputies, who reportedly did not return fire.
Dozens of Jefferson and Park County deputies responded to the scene and secured nearby residents in their homes through door-to-door contact and Code Red activation. The man was eventually taken into custody and arrested.
“This was a very serious call. There was a potential for the public to be in danger. That needs an immediate response and if Park County doesn’t have the staff to do that, we are the closest neighbor and we need to step in and help them out,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Karlyn Tilley said. “We all have issues trying to get those staffing numbers up, but our number one priority is the community and the safety of the community.”