Trooper Brian Koch
Trooper Brian Koch began his shift on October 24, 2006 at 5:00 pm. After making a few traffic stops, a motorist assist, and completing a dinner break. Trooper Koch decided to work stationary radar at the Mamm Creek off ramp of I-70 (MP 94), clocking eastbound traffic on both I-70 and the side road (Garfield County Road/GCR 346). Trooper Koch recalled clocking a vehicle on his right hand side traveling 60 MPH in a posted 30 MPH zone. He began to pursue the vehicle, pacing and clocking the vehicle at 55 MPH for approximately ¼ mile.
Familiar with GCR 346, he knew there was a hard left hand turn and a straight gravel shoulder/driveway approaching, the straight being the safest area to make the contact. Activating his overhead lights, the driver of the vehicle continued past the driveway and stopped in the road. As Trooper Koch approached the vehicle, he noticed the driver’s door begin to open. Trooper Koch quickly exited his patrol car, and gave verbal commands to the driver to close the door. The driver complied and closed the door. Trooper Koch continued to approach the vehicle holding his flashlight in his left hand. He checked the trunk and noticed the driver’s side window was down. He continued to the vehicle’s “B” pillar post. A Drug Recognition Expert for approximately three years and conducting over 100 evaluations, Trooper Koch recalled seeing the characteristics of a methamphetamine user with the driver exhibiting sunken cheeks. Trooper Koch witnessed the male’s hands resting on top of his groin, holding a pistol by the wooden grip, with his left hand covering the end of the barrel. Once he realized what was about to occur, he said “No!” While saying this, he began to step backwards to retreat from the driver, still facing him. The male then reached out of the window with his right arm, upper chest and head. Trooper Koch heard only one shot, then immediately felt a burning, massive pain in his left arm as he fell backwards. He landed somewhere in between the suspect’s and his patrol vehicle. Unable to move his left arm, Trooper Koch drew his weapon and began to fire towards the driver. As the driver began to drive away at a slow speed, Trooper Koch stopped firing momentarily and noticed the vehicle’s brake lights come on. Sensing the driver was either going to back up or turn around to kill him, Trooper Koch began to shoot again. This time the driver continued eastbound on GCR 346 and traveled out of sight.
Trooper Koch could see blood spurting from his left arm, and suspected that an artery was hit due to the volume of blood. Crawling back to his patrol car, Trooper Koch notified dispatch that he had been shot and aired the suspect vehicle information. By this point he was short of breath and his chest felt as if it was caved in. He partially unbuttoned his shirt and saw two unusual marks on his ballistic vest. Within a minute or two a vehicle traveling eastbound approached from behind, and two Hispanic males contacted Trooper Koch. Not speaking any English, Trooper Koch motioned to them that he needed something wrapped around his upper left arm to slow the bleeding. One of the men was wearing a pair of sweatpants with a drawstring. This person removed the drawstring and attempted to slow the bleeding using the drawstring as a tourniquet. Realizing it was not going to suffice, Trooper Koch pointed to the other man’s belt, and motioned to remove it and place around his arm. The man did as Trooper Koch requested. The first Samaritan then used his cell phone to dial 911, yet only spoke broken English. Trooper Koch then used the phone and spoke to the dispatcher, giving information on the vehicle and suspect. A third male also arrived and tried to assist Trooper Koch. Shortly thereafter a Garfield County Deputy and local EMT’s arrived on scene, and Trooper Koch was transported first to the Grand River Medical Center in Rifle, and then airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. There, he underwent immediate surgery. Trooper Koch had two surgeries and anticipates at least two more surgeries, one to clean up scar tissue, and the other to transplant tendons from his right arm to his left. The doctor’s prognosis for Trooper Koch is that he will only regain 40% - 50% use of his left hand.