Our Latest News

January 2014 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff and undersheriff attended the sheriffs conference in Loveland and gave a one-hour presentation on the Agnes Vaille Falls operation to county sheriffs attending the conference.


A 53-year-old Louisiana woman is in custody at the Chaffee County Detention Facility following her arrest after leading sheriff’s deputies and a state trooper on a pursuit that reached a speed of one hundred miles per hour.  Deputy Rod Lane was conducting radar speed enforcement north of Poncha Springs when he observed a sedan southbound on US 285 at a speed registering 81mph on the deputy’s radar in a posted 35mph zone.  Activating his emergency lights, Deputy Lane finally caught up with the car a few miles below the summit of Poncha Pass and the vehicle came to a stop in the southbound traffic lane.  When the deputy instructed the driver, alone in the vehicle, to pull her car onto the shoulder out of traffic, she directed a line of obscenities at the officer and drove off.  Deputy Lane followed with emergency lights and siren activated.  The woman’s vehicle reached a speed of 100mph and had begun to swerve into the oncoming traffic lane.  Saguache County deputies and the state patrol were alerted to the situation as the pursuit entered Saguache County.  Undersheriff Spezze determined that the danger to other motorists posed by continuing the pursuit was not justified and directed Deputy Lane to terminate the pursuit.  A short time later the car was disabled by a state trooper using stop sticks and the woman was arrested and turned over to our agency.  The press release is on our website.

Under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office, a Poncha Springs woman, 35, was sentenced January 2nd to five years with the Department of Corrections, plus a mandatory three years of parole, after she entered a plea of guilty in Chaffee County District Court to a charge of possession of more than two grams of methamphetamine, a class four felony.  The court action stemmed from the woman’s arrest last April when Deputy Sheriff Ben Adair attempted to stop a black sedan for a minor traffic violation on US 5O near Poncha Springs.  As Deputy Adair turned his patrol car around to make the stop the sedan sped up, ran a stop sign, and turned onto Hulbert Avenue in Poncha Springs where the deputy lost sight of the vehicle.  A few minutes later the car was spotted outside a house in Poncha Springs.  Follow-up investigation determined the car and license plates were stolen.  The defendant was contacted inside the house and subsequently arrested along with three others when quantities of drugs, paraphernalia, and a handgun were discovered during a search.  The press release is on our website.

A Denver man, 29, was arrested after a dispute with his girlfriend ended in a physical struggle with a sheriff’s deputy who had been called by the woman to the couple’s lodging at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort.  Deputy Marty Johnson was dispatched to the resort lodge to meet with the woman who told the deputy she and her boyfriend were staying in a room across the road from the lodge and had an argument.  The woman asked the deputy to stand by as she retrieved her belongings from the room.  At the room they were met by the man who pointed a handgun at the two.  The deputy and the woman retreated and after a tense several minutes and a physical struggle, Deputy Johnson was able to subdue the much younger and larger man who was jailed on a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges.  The press release is on our website

   Training Attended


 Complaints / commendations

A letter to the editor published in the Mountain Mail praised Deputy Jeff Stephens for his honesty and conscientiousness.  The writer, a woman, had absentmindedly left her purse in a grocery cart while shopping at a local store.  It was discovered by Deputy Stephens who was off duty and shopping at the same store.  He took the purse to the sheriff’s office where the owner was contacted and retrieved the purse.  The woman wrote, “Thanks for the fantastic, caring, kind loving people, and especially Deputy Stephens.”

A Buena Vista church sent a check for $500 to the sheriff’s office in appreciation for the work of our staff over the past year.  We will use the funds for the awards display in our lobby acknowledging the works of our employees and our search and rescue teams.

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

Diana Hatfield will be joining the dispatch team on February 3, 2014.  She is a longtime Salida resident.

Two new computers have been ordered for the communications center and should be in soon.

Annette and Jet are working on a COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) for the communications center.  This plan would be utilized in the event the center had to be evacuated or if the building became uninhabitable.

Search and Rescue

A man snowshoeing on Mount Princeton fell approximately eight hundred feet and suffered serious injuries, requiring a Flight for Life helicopter to assist in the rescue.  The man, age 30, a resident of Denver, was snowshoeing with another man and a woman when he fell.  More than thirty people responded, including members of Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, Emergency Medical Services, the sheriff’s office, and Chaffee Fire. The victim was conscious and stable but not completely coherent and complained of pain in his neck and back.  A Flight for Life helicopter picked up the man at a landing zone about a thousand feet from the accident site and transported him to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco and later to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.   Mountain Mail reporter Brian McCabe’s article appeared in the newspaper the following day and was so thorough that the sheriff was relieved of having to issue a press release.  McCabe’s article is posted on our website, courtesy of the Mountain Mail.  The sheriff visited the man in St. Anthony Hospital a few days later.  Although the man suffered severe injuries, he is expected to make a full recovery.


Records and Administration

Detention Facility

Sgt. Jimmy James received a tip that a certain inmate had smuggled heroin into the jail on his return from a work release detail.  Sgt. James ordered a search of the man’s cell that turned up the illegal drug.  The inmate has been charged with first degree introduction of contraband, a felony.