Suspects nabbed following pursuit, search

Staff Writer


Sawn Wester

Two suspects were apprehended in the last week in connection with a pursuit and search that began Jan. 2.

The search for the suspects involved special teams and air support from two Colorado counties and one New Mexico county.

According to Capt. Adrian Driscoll of the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), a trooper initiated a pursuit on a vehicle with a trailer at approximately 5:26 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, in the area of Forest Service Road 620 (First Notch Road) in western Archuleta County.

The pursuit was terminated 15 to 20 minutes later, Driscoll said, at the intersection of Forest Service roads 620 and 133 (Beaver Circle).

A La Plata County Sheriff’s Office (LPCSO) press release identified the vehicle as an SUV.

During the incident, the small trailer being towed by the SUV was detached and set ablaze in the middle of the road to create a roadblock, the press release stated. The trailer held containers of ammunition and other items.

That night, the sole residence in the area was secured and a ground and air search of the area began, running until about 1 a.m., Driscoll said. That search included authorities from CSP, Archuleta and La Plata counties, and a helicopter from the San Juan County, N.M. Sheriff’s Office.

The search picked up again the following day, Friday, Jan. 3.

On Friday, the SUV was found burned over a mile away from the trailer.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m. that same day, 28-year-old Vernon Mott, of Alamosa, was apprehended with the help of the helicopter, state CSP personnel confirmed.

Mott was treated for frostbite and hypothermia, interviewed by CSP, and released.

The days following offered little in the way of progress as authorities searched for a second suspect.

Then, Sunday night, the LPCSO apprehended the second suspect in Bayfield while completing follow-up work on the case.

That suspect, Shawn Wester, 35, of Pagosa Springs, was found in a camper trailer in a storage area in the Homestead Trails subdivision in Bayfield.

When apprehended, Wester was in possession of a handgun. The identification number had been removed from the gun, the press release stated.

Wester was arrested for possession of a defaced firearm; possession of a weapon by a previous offender; and first-degree criminal trespass.

He was being held on a $5,000 bond at the La Plata County Detention Center in Durango as of Monday.

Calls to CSP seeking an update on the incident were not returned by press time Wednesday.

This story was posted on January 9, 2014.

6 Responses to Suspects nabbed following pursuit, search

  1. littledrummerboy

    January 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    who gets to pay for the use of the helicopter during the search? do helicopters really need to be deployed whenever the cops are unable to keep up with someone pulling a trailer? there must have been a lot of lives at risk to call in air support, wow. i’d like to know why vernon mott was released after being chased down with a helicopter, if he was such a treat to public safety. it’s pretty cool how the cops get to present their side of the story and no one asks any questions. something is missing from this story. i for one do not trust the police’s account of the events.

  2. Inez

    January 9, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    littledrummerboy-Nobody is going to waste their time explaining things to you because even if you got all the facts, you would argue every bit of it.
    It’s not your job to know all the details. It’s your right to be safe by police removing these people from the society they are terrorizing. Be gracious of that!

  3. littledrummerboy

    January 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    you’re right. we should never ever ask questions. especially when the police are the only ones telling the story. what was i thinking??? ….i’d feel safer and more gracious if i knew why they released vernon mott. don’t you find it curious that he was let go? don’t you want to the cops to be accountable for how they spend public funds? helicopters ain’t cheap, you know. if the police didn’t have enough on the guy to arrest him, then why [] are they calling in air support?? this is NOT an unreasonable question. i hope you aren’t suggesting that law enforcement agencies do not need to be monitored and should be allowed to do whatever they want.

  4. colorado cowgirl

    January 11, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Good Bust!
    Reported two men last summer trying to gain access to my property. The driver sure resembled this guy.
    So much so I would say that’s the guy!
    There was a rapid response from law enforcement to my call. But the 2 men had fled the area. Despite a rapid response they were not apprehended. They had maps with the local houses circled…..They knew the area!
    Littledrummerboy…If your home had been broken into maybe you’d be a little more realistic. Please post your address so we can send people like this to your home in the future.

  5. littledrummerboy

    January 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    i have been burglarized before. several times. and i know exactly how invasive that feels. but i didn’t call a helicopter to conduct a manhunt. why don’t YOU be a little more realistic! but apparently, the cops can call in air support if they feel THEIR lives might be at risk or some kids out drive them. there was no one around for miles. i can’t see how they can justify such an aggressive and very expensive manhunt over an incident of simple evasion. the public was not at risk in the slightest! they didn’t even know who they were chasing or why they were evading. in fact, they had to let one guy go because there had not been anything to charge him with, while not finding the other guy until days later. it was by mere COINCIDENCE that these punks had previously engaged in criminal activities. that is NOT why they were chasing them. did they call in the helicopter for you when, as a member of the public, you needed help catching those guys? no, didn’t think so. all i am asking is some accountability from our police. i think someone should ask the cops to explain their air support policy. since we pay for it, i have a right to be skeptical. maybe you don’t care, but there is an epidemic in this country of inappropriate police activity, corruption, beatings and questionable shootings. when we forget that police work for us and don’t need to be watched, there is bound to be trouble. how do you expect them to respond the next time you need them when they are abusing their access to aircraft once their next car chase becomes “personal” for them? they can’t just call the helicopter every time they blow a gasket when a couple of punks make them look incompetent. but that’s what happened that night out in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road off highway 160 with no witnesses.

  6. Ray Merlo

    January 13, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Fry these cowardly skunks.