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vehicle pursuit ends with arrest, multiple charges

Eric Paul Gallegos

Eric Paul Gallegos

At about 9:30am today Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze was patrolling on US Hwy 50 east of Salida when he spotted a small red pickup truck travelling east at high speed.  As the pickup approached the entrance to Big Horn Sheep Canyon, Undersheriff Spezze estimated its speed at about 95mph.  Spezze activated his vehicle’s emergency lights but the driver of the vehicle failed to yield and continued on.  Fearing for the safety of other motorists, Spezze turned off his lights but continued to follow the vehicle as it eventually slowed to about 45mph.  Chaffee County dispatchers alerted Fremont County sheriff’s deputies and a state patrol trooper in Howard.

In Howard, the car was spotted by CSP trooper Brandon Wilkins who fell in behind the pickup truck and activated his emergency equipment.  The truck immediately sped up, reaching speeds again of about 95mph.  The truck continued that pace as it passed through a congested construction zone near Cotapaxi.  Finally, in Cotapaxi the driver stopped his vehicle and surrendered to authorities.

Arrested was Eric Paul Gallegos, 30, a resident of Saguache.  He was jailed in the Chaffee County Detention Center on charges of driving under revocation, vehicular eluding, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment, the last charge arising from his actions driving through the congested construction zone.  He is being held on bond of $50,000.