CMC students arrested for stealing ambulance

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— An 18-year-old college student involved in the theft of a city ambulance pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Tuesday. A second student, who allegedly assaulted a paramedic, still awaits his fate.
Ryan David Tomkinson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft Tuesday for his involvement in a short-lived ambulance joy ride outside a Colorado Mountain College dormitory Sunday.
Tomkinson sat in the passenger seat of an ambulance that Wayne Jared Maynard allegedly attempted to drive off in while a paramedic and a patient were in the back of the vehicle, Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.
Maynard, 20, of Houston, faces seven charges, Fiebing said.
According to a court file, bail for Maynard has been set at $20,000. He is expected to appear in Routt County Court at 1 p.m. today for a bond hearing.
Maynard faces three felonies: first-degree aggravated theft, second-degree assault and escaping, Fiebing said.
The other charges include obstructing a government operation, resisting arrest and obstructing an emergency medical service, all misdemeanors.
A petty charge of possession of alcohol also is being sought.
"We are not sure why they jumped into the ambulance and tried to drive away in it," Fiebing said. "I can tell you it was a bad idea."
Maynard and Tomkinson "had alcohol on their breath and slurred speech," at the time of the incident, the assistant police chief said.
The chain of events started at about 1:24 a.m. Sunday when an ambulance was called to Colorado Mountain College's Hill residence hall, 1370 Bob Adams Drive.
"We got a call that a student had fallen and hit their head," Fiebing said.
Paramedic Jeanne Power and Denise Petersen, an emergency medical technician, responded to the scene to treat a 20-year-old man.
Police officer Matthew Harmon also went to the scene, but left when he found out the nature of the call.
"He thought it was no big deal," Fiebing said of Harmon.
Power, too, did not think the call would turn into what it did.
"We thought it was a routine call," the five-year veteran said. "It was a call we had run a 100 times. I never thought it would happen."
As the man was put into the ambulance, he reportedly told the women he did not want to go to the hospital. Power and Petersen "felt the man was sober enough that he did not need treatment," Fiebing said.
"Petersen went back into the dorm to find a sober party to release him to, when all of a sudden, two men jumped into the ambulance," Fiebing said.
Power and the patient were in the back of the ambulance when Maynard and Tomkinson allegedly jumped in.
"It happened really quickly," Power said. "It was a real strange event. My partner, who has been with the department for 23 years, told me she has never seen anything like it."
As Maynard allegedly started to drive the ambulance, Power poked her head up into the cab of the vehicle.
"I was telling him to stop, and he wouldn't," Power said. "Then the driver grabbed me by the throat. He then pinned me up against the dashboard."
While Power was allegedly being held down by Maynard, she was able to reach up and hit the ambulance's "master switch," she said.
"The master switch stops all power, except for the engine," she said.
Still being held by the neck, she said, Power was able to grab the vehicle's automatic gear shift and put it into park.
"The ambulance came to a grinding stop," Power said. "We were going about 20 miles an hour."
Once the ambulance came to a stop, the two men jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot, she said. Power, who had suffered some "minor bumps and bruises," called for backup.
Harmon and two other officers responded to the scene about 2 a.m. They apprehended Maynard on the third-floor of a dormitory, Fiebing said. Harmon handcuffed Maynard's hands behind his back and put him in his squad car.
The officers then focused their attention on finding Tomkinson. While the officers were searching for Tomkinson, they got information from a student that Maynard was seen going back into the residence hall.
"He was able to get his feet to go between his wrists, so his hands were in front of him," Fiebing said. "He was then able to unlock the door and go back into his dorm."
According to an affidavit Harmon has filed in court, the officer saw Maynard go into his room and then lock the door. The officers retrieved a master key to unlock door, Fiebing said, but it didn't easily open.
"It was like there was someone standing against the door," he said.
The officers were able to push the door open enough to fit a flashlight in the opening and then pepper-spray the room, Fiebing said, allowing them to enter it and arrest Maynard at about 3:15 a.m.
"The officers had to carry him to the squad car and then again to jail," Fiebing said. "He did not cooperate. He basically spent most of his time yelling obscenities at the officers."
Tomkinson was found in his dormitory room about 35 minutes later. He was arrested without incident, Fiebing said.
Tomkinson reportedly told the officers "he got into the ambulance because he thought Maynard knew the ambulance driver," Fiebing said.
Tomkinson told police that prior to the incident he had been at a party with Maynard and other CMC students.
Tomkinson said Maynard asked him to go with him to "town and get some cigarettes," the file shows.
As they were walking out of the residence hall toward the ambulance, Maynard allegedly told Tomkinson, "You got shotgun."
Tomkinson was arrested on suspicion of first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, obstruction of an emergency medical service and possession of alcohol charges against Tomkinson.
He was able to reach a plea agreement with the District Attorney's office in which he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft.
Tomkinson is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 13 in Garrecht's courtroom. The maximum sentence he could receive is 12 months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. Tomkinson is free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
As for Maynard, he faces incarceration if charged and convicted of the charges police are seeking.
"The charges hold considerable jail time and possible prison time," Fiebing said. "People under the influence of alcohol make bad decisions, and those bad decisions can land you in jail for a long time."

To reach Gary E. Salazar call 871-4205 or e-mail gsalazar@amigo.net

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