August 27, 2021 |

The shooting suspect out of Denver who was the subject of a manhunt in Carbon County yesterday is in custody today. Thirty-year-old Jose Valdez of Craig, CO, was apprehended on Wyoming 789 at the end of a high speed chase.

Speeds reached 90 miles an hour as across the Sierra Madres from Encampment to Baggs, where Valdez turned right and drove north toward the Red Desert. The owner of the stolen truck alerted police and a high speed chase began over Battle Pass around 5:30 p.m. Valdez was able to avoid tire spikes placed in the road by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Pictured above: Screenshot from a video depicting a portion of yesterday’s high speed chase shot by Shawnee Snyder, of Baggs.

Accept for brief periods, the pursuit averaged 85 to 90 miles an hour most of the way. After reaching Baggs, the suspect turn onto WYO 789 and sped toward Interstate 80. Until then, troopers in pursuit weren’t certain the driver of the vehicle was the subject of the manhunt. As they raced toward the Red Desert, troopers finally got close enough to confirm Valdez was behind the wheel.

Early in the pursuit, troopers thought the truck might run out of gas before reaching Baggs. It did not. Nor did Valdez show any sign of surrendering. Troopers exercised caution because they had been alerted by Saratoga Police that the suspect was armed.

Prior to attempting his getaway, Valdez had managed to elude police throughout the day as he hid in Encampment. He had crashed his own vehicle at the intersection of Wyoming 70 and 230 in the early morning hours after being pursued by Colorado Highway Patrol and other police departments across the state line into Wyoming. Police believe he was trying to make his way back to Craig, where he lives. Lieutenant Caleb Hobbes described what happened as Valdez fled into Wyoming.


The crash occurred around 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Valdez fled the scene on foot and disappeared. Jackson County Police continued the pursuit back to Colorado where they believe he was headed.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol and sheriff’s deputies searched the Encampment-Riverside area for the next 11 hours without turning up any sign Valdez, who according to Denver police was connected to a drive-by shooting. Lt. Hobbes said that nearly a dozen officers were involved in the search at one point. Before Valdez was spotted around 5:30 trying to flee in the stolen truck, police had suspended the search believing he had managed to slip through the dragnet.

Police had suspended the search early Thursday afternoon. Valdez finally made his move as the clouds darkened and a thunderstorm started dropping heavy rain around Encampment. As he tried to make his getaway in a stolen, old Dodge pickup, the truck’s owner spotted him and alerted police. According to the bulletin that came across dispatch, it was not your typical getaway vehicle.

Once police were in pursuit, Valdez began driving fast and deftly enough to avoid several attempts by officers to bring the chase to an end with tire spikes. As he drove north on Highway 789 some 30 miles north of Baggs, a patrol vehicle was able to pull close enough behind him to perform what Lt. Hobbs described as a tactical vehicle intervention, or TVI.

Speeds were still running 85 or 90 miles an hour at this point. Just before a trooper performed the tactical driving maneuver, which causes a fleeing car to turn sideways abruptly and stop, the pursuing officers noticed Valdez make a suspicious move inside the truck.


After blocking both lanes of traffic, a trooper out of Rawlins pulled in behind the fleeing truck and successfully executed the TVI maneuver. The pickup truck came to a stop in an upright position, its left rear tire disabled. Valdez was taken into custody but did not appear seriously injured.


Valdez has warrants out for arrest in Colorado. He was fleeing police after being linked to a drive-by shooting in Denver. Carbon County Sheriff Archie Roybal said the police reports he had received indicated that no one was killed or injured in the shooting. Lt. Hobbes declined to comment on the Denver incident.

Lt. Hobbs expressed his appreciation to the residents of Riverside and Encampment for their cooperation during yesterday’s search for the suspect. The lieutenant characterized residents as gracious and understanding in the effort to keep their areas safe.

Related: Manhunt continues in Encampment/Riverside for Colorado fugitive

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