Woman arrested after allegedly stealing State Patrol vehicle, causing several crashes

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PALISADE, Colo. (KKTV) - Troopers say a woman left a trail of destruction in her wake after stealing a State Patrol cruiser to escape law enforcement Friday afternoon.

The ordeal started on I-70 when a woman and man crashed a stolen car just east of Palisade.

As State Patrol pulled up to the scene, the duo ditched the vehicle and split up. The man ran into the hills and was captured several hours later walking in Palisade. The women dived into the Colorado River and was immediately caught by troopers.

While in custody inside the cruiser, State Patrol says she managed to get behind the wheel and drive off.

With law enforcement in pursuit, our sister station KKCO reports the woman sped towards Palisade, then abruptly u-turned and started heading eastbound after crashing into a motorcycle and another State Patrol vehicle. Neither the trooper or motorcyclist sustained significant injuries.

She then made it more than 10 miles eastbound before losing control of the cruiser outside De Beque, hitting the guardrail, spinning out and for crashing for a third time that afternoon, according to KKCO.

Third time was not the charm for the suspect, who was swiftly taken into custody by Mesa County deputies.

State Patrol has identified the woman who allegedly stole the cruiser as 29-year-old Venessa Jaramillo, who was already wanted on three warrants out of Lake County.

The male suspect was identified as 36-year-old Nickolas Mascarenas, wanted in Lake and Eagle counties.

The original vehicle the pair was driving was been stolen out of Montezuma County, according to State Patrol.

"Even though aspects of this incident are still under investigation, this serves to highlight the epidemic of auto theft in Colorado, and the importance of motorcycle operators to wear a complete set of protective gear,” State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard said in a statement.

*Editor's note: We originally reported there were three suspects involved. We have corrected the number to two.