Trooper Joseph Mack

On January 28, 2013, at 1255 hours, Trooper Joseph Mack was patrolling eastbound on Colorado Highway 34 at approximately mile marker 203 when he was informed by dispatch of a one vehicle roll over crash on Highway 34 at Washington County Road Q, containing a driver and passenger. Dispatch also informed Trooper Mack that the driver of the rolled vehicle had pulled a gun on a Good Samaritan who had stopped to render aid, carjacking the Samaritan’s vehicle, a red Nissan pickup truck. Trooper Mack turned around and headed west towards the crash scene near Akron, Colorado.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies initiated a pursuit of the red pickup, heading eastbound on 34 as Trooper Mack approached the town of Akron. Trooper Mack turned around and joined the pursuit containing four Washington County members, reaching 104 miles per hour (MPH) at mile mark 204, and averaging more than 75 MPH as they passed through the town of Otis. The suspects sped past east bound motorists in the westbound lanes forcing westbound motorists off the road several times. As they were continuing to head east Colorado State Patrol Corporal Gary Gilliland told dispatch he was going to deploy stop sticks from the west bound lane at mile marker 219. As they approached 219 the pickup crossed the center lane to drive straight into Corporal Gilliland, who turned to run behind his vehicle to avoid being hit, and was unable to deploy the stop sticks. 

Trooper Mack moved to the lead position of the pursuit as they were heading into Yuma. The pursuit through Yuma reached speeds of 80 MPH. Again the suspects forced oncoming westbound vehicles off the road while passing eastbound traffic. Once out of Yuma Trooper Mack began to position his vehicle in an attempt to perform a Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI) on the suspect’s vehicle. The passenger of the stolen vehicle responded with gunfire.  Trooper Mack attempted to move up several times and each time the passenger would raise the firearm in Trooper Mack's direction.  When Trooper Mack noticed the passenger lean over into the floor board, he took the opportunity to perform the TVI on the driver’s side to induce a counter clockwise spin away from traffic. The TVI was successful, the pickup stopping in the field along the north side of the highway, ending the pursuit.

If not for the decisive actions taken by Trooper Mack during this pursuit, the potential loss of life and threat to law enforcement and the public was imminent. While exposed to danger Trooper Mack exercised sound judgment to end the pursuit, bringing credit upon himself and the Colorado State Patrol.