BRIGHTON – District Attorney Brian Mason won’t file charges against an Adams County sheriff’s deputy in connection with a May shooting.
In a letter to Adams County Sheriff Gene Clapps, Mason, the district attorney for the 17th Judicial District, said there was “no reasonable likelihood” of proving elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The incident happened early May 24, according to the letter. Two deputies, Jonathan Eller and Joseph Archuleta, were on patrol in eastern Adams County when they saw the suspect, Matthew Jones, driving a pick-up truck with no license plates.
After an unsuccessful traffic stop, the truck sped up and eluded the deputies. Speeds, at times, were as high as 92 mph. A third deputy was in the area and placed stop sticks under the underpass on Interstate 70 southeast of the airport. The truck’s tires ran over the sticks but continued.
Deputies reported that Jones was traveling in the westbound lanes of the freeway before swerving across the median while still traveling westbound. Speeds dropped to about 40 mph. Troopers from the Colorado State Patrol joined the pursuit, only to see Jones take the Manila Road exit off the interstate while going the wrong way.
Jones returned to the freeway – still driving westbound in the eastbound lanes, the letter said – as Deputy Eller drove parallel to the truck. After an unsuccessful attempt to stop Jones and the truck, the chase continued – this time going westbound in the westbound lanes. Jones eventually resumed driving westbound in the eastbound lanes.
The letter said the CSP trooper “...tried to prevent the vehicle from getting back onto the highway to avoid a fatal head-on crash with oncoming traffic.”
Jones’ truck, which was off the roadway, collided with the trooper’s vehicle, yet the truck continued to drive on the highway.
Shortly before 12:45 a.m Jones turned off the truck’s headlights, which prompted authorities to call off the chase. Jones also stopped on the highway and got out of the truck. A semi-tractor-trailer rig saw the police cars and another vehicle with sparks coming from it that came to a stop.
The letter said Jones “began punching the window while yelling, ‘Open the @#$% up.’"
The driver of the semi told authorities the man was desperate and was concerned about what might happen if he opened the truck and that Jones “could hurt or kill him if Y.C. (the driver) was thrown out” of the semi. The driver didn’t see anything in Jones’ hands.
After Jones fell, the semi-driver watched Jones run toward the median. The driver said Jones “...went down to the ground and got up trying to run.” The letter said the semi-driver heard a deputy yell something at Mr. Jones, then heard four to five rounds of gunfire.
Deputy Eller couldn’t get out of his patrol car because he got tangled up in taser wires. Deputy Archuleta walked up toward the front of the semi and watched Jones as he continued to bang on the truck’s window. The deputy thought Jones might have had something in his hands.
After a command to get off the truck, the letter said Jones got off the truck, ran in front of the deputy and said, “I’m going to !@#$%-ing kill you.” Archuleta told authorities he thought Jones was going to shoot him.
Archuleta fired his weapon and wounded Jones, who went to an area hospital for treatment of injuries. Charges are pending against Matthew Jones.
Because the case is ongoing, Mason’s letter to AdCo Sheriff Gene Clapps did not include all relevant facts, and it said “the record of this investigation will remain restricted from public access” until the end of the criminal proceedings.