- Andy Hitch
Incident: The Escaped Armed Convict on the Loose
Six years ago I was working the ATV rental trail by myself toward the end of winter. It was a cold and snowy day as I kicked back in my warm truck waiting for a couple ATV riders I had out on the trail.
At around 4pm I saw a girl in her late 20's walking down the snowy trail toward me with only a t-shirt on. She was stumbling, shivering, and obviously in bad shape.
I immediately got out of my truck and came to her aid. She had her face tucked into her chest and wouldn't look up at me. I asked if she needed coat. I also asked where she came from and what she was doing up here and in this weather. All those questions and her only reply was, "Do you have a cigarette?"
So, I led her to my truck, got her in, and gave her a smoke. After 10 or 15 minutes of silence, I finally got her to respond to my questions. Turns out, her boyfriend drove them up to the trail the night before. They planned on sleeping in the truck. However, they ran out of gas. So, at 5am he left her there and started walking into town to get gas. It was now 4pm. Obviously, he wasn't coming back.
After she started talking, I could tell something wasn't right with her. I couldn't pin point the drug she was at the tail end of, but I could tell she was coming down hard. She seemed like a nice person so I offered to take her home.
While we waited for my riders to return, I was able to get a bit of a story out of her. I guess she went to prison for something. In the process, she lost custody of her daughter. Not able to find decent work after being released, coupled with being hooked up with the wrong man, life slid down hill for her real fast.
When we finally left, I told her I needed to stop at my house before I brought her all the way to Greeley, where she lived. On the way to my place, she literally fell over in my lap as I was driving. I stopped and startled her as I woke her up and pushed her back upright into her seat. Five minutes later, she did it again. She was out of it. It's like she hadn't slept in a week. After a while, I finally got her situated in her seat and she was out like a light.
Once we got to my house, I told her I needed to do about 15 minutes of work and we'd leave for her place after. I laid her down on my couch and again, she was out like a light.
As I was in my office working, my wife came home from work. Immediately she yelled, "Andy, what the HELL is this girl doing on my couch!" I forgot to mention, she was fairly attractive. So, obviously my wife was freaked the hell out. We stood there in the living room, right next to the couch in a heated all out fight over the deal. She was convinced I was cheating on her and balling me out as I was trying to explain what happened on the trail. Naturally, she wasn't buying a word of it. All this yelling and screaming, and the girl never woke up.
Finally, I stomped off and walked out of the house all pissed off. Meanwhile, my wife yanked that girl off the couch and onto the floor. I think she was planning on whooping some ass. However, she realized real quick that the girl had some serious problems. When I came back in the house to take a stab at round two of our fight, I found my wife hugging the girl and they were both crying.
Needless to say, I got the clearance to take her home.
The next morning at the trail, our local Boulder county sheriff showed up. He comes by about once a day. It's his beat. We all know him well. He's a really cool guy. The situation with the girl bothered me all night. I could barely sleep. Something just didn't add up. So, I told the cop (we'll call him Bob) what had happened the day before. I also mentioned the truck might still be out there. I told him something didn't sit well with me. So, Bob decided to go check it out.
20 minutes later, here come's Bob screaming down the trail in his 4x4 patrol truck, sliding sideways into the parking lot. He jumped out and immediately began yelling some gibberish at me while at the same time yelling on his radio, "Shot's fired, I need backup!"
Turns out, Bob showed up at the truck and the boyfriend was there trying to put gas in it. Bob simply asked how he was doing and the guy pulled a gun and started shooting. Before Bob could get any shots off, the guy ran into the woods.
Immediately, cops from everywhere flooded the entire area. The goal was to surround a small section of forest, close him off, and catch him. Right away they realized they didn't have him contained in a small area. So, the expanded it greatly.
The next three days were seriously touch and go. I had to let all my customers know that a recently escaped convict who was armed and extremely dangerous was on the loose in the area. Naturally, I ended up having to refund damn near everyone.
On the second day, I had a huge family come in to ride. They rented 6 machines for a full day. It was a lot of money I really hated to lose. When I told them about the man on the loose, they immediately turned around all pissed off like and went to their cars. I was so bummed, but I understood completely. However, two minutes later here they all come, stomping up on me packing shotguns, AR's, and pistols. "We're from Texas!" They said as they cocked and loaded their weapons. "If he's out there, he's a dead man!" It was funny as hell, but I actually felt bad for the convict at that point.
Over the course of those three days, he stole an ATV and a car trying to escape the surrounded area. At the end of the third day, he commandeered a cabin in Allenspark and it all ended in a shootout.
From what I understand, he lived and was put back in jail. The girl was also arrested for harboring a fugitive. I felt bad for that girl. From what I know of the situation, she had a hard life growing up with shitty parents. She got pregnant at a young age and always got involved with the wrong men. Those men led her to drugs and crime. I don't what is true about her and what isn't to be honest. What I do know is that she was left in the mountains to freeze. She hadn't eaten or had anything to drink. If that was any indication of how she'd been treated in the past, I can certainly have some sympathy for her.