Police use Taser on man at Steamboat hospital
Front Range man was acting violently toward himself, police said
February 25, 2011
Steamboat Springs — A Taser was used on a 25-year-old Front Range man at Yampa Valley Medical Center on Friday after police say the man acted violently and cut his own throat with scissors.
The incident started at about 5:30 a.m in Routt County when the man, Lucas Chase, of Firestone, steered the car he was driving toward an oncoming snowplow on U.S. Highway 40 on Rabbit Ears Pass, Undersheriff Ray Birch said. Birch said Chase was traveling to Steamboat from the Front Range with his former girlfriend, 24-year-old Evan Eberlein, of Longmont. The couple was arguing, and at one point, Chase threw Eberlein's cell phone out the window, Birch said.
Eberlein told police that Chase was acting like he wanted to hurt himself and that he intentionally hit a Colorado Department of Transportation plow truck before continuing toward Steamboat Springs down the pass. The driver of the truck reported seeing Chase's car coming and tried to avoid it.
Birch said Steamboat Springs Police Department officers were alerted to the hit-and-run and stopped Chase on U.S. 40 in Steamboat.
According to Routt County Communications radio communications, officers requested an ambulance because Chase was shaking and possibly having a seizure. Eberlein also told police that Chase had hit multiple vehicles on the way to Steamboat.
At the hospital, Chase ran down a hallway, picked up a pair of scissors and cut his throat, Birch said.
"He wasn't effective in cutting his throat so he could kill himself or hurt himself substantially," Birch said.
Police subdued Chase with a Taser and he was fastened to a gurney, Birch said.
Birch said Friday afternoon that Chase still was at the hospital. Routt County Mental Health had been contacted, and they were in the process of finding a facility where Chase could be taken for an evaluation, Birch said.
Birch said the Sheriff's Office, Steamboat police and Colorado State Patrol are investigating.
Steamboat Springs Police Chief JD Hays could not be reached Friday afternoon. The troopers involved with the investigation also were not available.
YVMC spokeswoman Christine McKelvie said no hospital employees were hurt during the incident. She also said hospital security officers did not use their Tasers on Chase. Guards at the hospital were being trained this week to use Tasers in an effort to deter violence and address a national trend of increased violence in hospitals.
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or e-mail mstensland@SteamboatToday.com