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Jailbreak: 1 dead, 1 in custody

One of two fugitives who escaped the Archuleta County Detention Center on July 20, Clifford Todd Reseigh, was shot and killed by New Mexico authorities on July 22.

Following nearly three days on the lam, Jason Snow, the second fugitive, was apprehended at about 7:15 a.m July 23.

At approximately 8 p.m. July 20, Snow, 24, and Reseigh, 45, locked one detention officer in the jail facility’s visitor room and assaulted two detention officers, stealing keys from them.

Snow and Reseigh then used the keys to steal a jailer’s pickup truck from behind the jail before heading south on County Road 500 (Trujillo Road), said Archuleta County Undersheriff John Weiss.

Lt. Sean Curtis, who served as Archuleta County’s incident commander during the process, said sightings of the truck on CR 500 led law enforcement officials south of Pagosa Springs and into the area of CR 542 (Montezuma Road), CR 391 (Lower Navajo Road) and CR 359 (Coyote Park Road).

After a search grid was set, Deputy Devonne McBride made contact with the fugitives, avoiding a head-on collision with them on Montezuma Road. McBride estimated the fugitives were driving about 80 m.p.h.

By the time McBride was able to turn around and continue southbound on the road, she had lost the fugitives, Curtis said, but he added the moment was a pivotal one nonetheless, as the fugitives then knew they were being “hotly pursued” and that their vehicle was identified.

The men abandoned the vehicle on property owned by the Martinez family near CR 391 and CR 359, close to the New Mexico state line.

The initial search involved a number of law enforcement agencies, a San Juan County, N.M. helicopter and the Pagosa Springs Police Department search dog. The dog tracked a scent to an empty cabin.

The initial search was scaled back at approximately 4 a.m. on July 21. Officers from a number of law enforcement agencies continued to saturate the area near Edith and the New Mexico state line, covering both sides of the line, Curtis said.

By Wednesday, law enforcement began receiving citizen tips, leading searchers to look through several structures in the area.

Weiss said teams searched well into the evening Wednesday, also keeping a presence in the area overnight.

At approximately 3 p.m. July 22, Snow was seen just south of the New Mexico state line off of Archuleta CR 359 when he approached a woman in a car, asking for a ride. The woman who had seen media coverage of the escape and search, declined to give Snow a ride and called law enforcement.

“That was one of the things we were looking for — a recent sighting,” Curtis said, adding that a sighting was needed to further narrow the geographic search area.

Concurrently, other law enforcement teams were pursuing a number of leads and a Colorado Department of Corrections fugitive search team was called in to aid in the search, as were two La Plata County deputies.

“It was really a nexus of a lot of great timing,” Curtis said.

At about 4 p.m. July 22, four officers from the New Mexico State Police and Jicarilla Apache Police approached a camp trailer, where they cornered the two escapees.

Peter Olson, of the NMSP, said Snow fled the RV, while Reseigh attacked officers with a knife.

Reseigh was shot and killed during the confrontation.

No serious injuries were sustained by officers during the attack, Olson said.

“At that point, things really ramped up,” Curtis said.

The DOC fugitive search team, including K-9 units and trackers, began searching the area, developing leads and inspecting several structures in the area, Curtis said.

By that evening, a unified command center had been established with the various entities involved from Colorado and New Mexico, and approximately 50 officers searched the area.

Toward the end of the evening, tracks were spotted heading southeast, at which time roadblocks were set up at saturation points to help contain the area, Curtis said.

An intensive search reconvened at 5 a.m. Friday, with the K-9 units following the tracks that had been partially washed away by rain.

The tracks led to a residence with outbuildings that were considered likely hiding places, which was indeed the case.

At approximately 7:15 a.m. on July 23, Snow was found in an outhouse about a mile from where Reseigh was shot. Officials apprehended Snow without incident and brought him to the command post and to an ambulance.

According to the NMSP, Snow had minor scratches and abrasions sustained during his run from authorities and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Snow was then taken to the Rio Arriba County Adult Detention Facility in Tierra Amarilla, N.M.

Before the escape, Snow was in the Archuleta County jail awaiting sentencing and an Aug. 3 jury trial to determine habitual criminal status — a determination that would affect the length of his sentence. He was found guilty in May of first degree assault, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, and tampering with physical evidence.

In addition to the convictions for which Snow was awaiting sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Alex Lowe said the arrest warrant following the escape includes felony charges of escape, false imprisonment, motor vehicle theft and assault during escape, but said no final decision had been made on what Snow will be charged with.

Lowe noted that the charge of assault during escape would likely be the most serious of the additional charges Snow might face.

For the time being, Snow’s Aug. 3 court date has not changed, but Lowe expected it to be continued.

Snow was expected to be arraigned on Monday in New Mexico. Lowe said Snow would not oppose extradition and will be brought back to Colorado shortly.

The incident is still under investigation in New Mexico and whether Snow would face charges in New Mexico was unknown at press time Wednesday.

How the fugitives overpowered the guards at the Archuleta County Detention Center is still under investigation.

In total, eight departments aided in the search, including the ACSO, Pagosa Springs Police Dept., Colorado State Patrol, Colorado DOC and the Parole Division, NMSP, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police and Southern Ute Tribal Police, as well as a helicopter from San Juan County (N.M.).

randi@pagosasun.com