Man impersonating officer placed cones in middle of I-70, told drivers to speed: deputies

MESA COUNTY - Deputies on Colorado's western slope say a man placed orange traffic cones in the middle of the interstate and then pretended to be a U.S. Marshal, warning drivers of a fictitious nearby shooting on Sunday. 

The strange incident briefly took over a closed weigh station off of I-70 in Mesa County.

The misplaced cones caused thousands of dollars in damage to one vehicle, and multiple other drivers had to swerve dangerously to avoid them, deputies reported.

Mesa County deputies were called Sunday afternoon around 4 after several motorists reported orange traffic cones in the middle of the westbound Interstate.

Reporting callers also said a suspicious man was directing vehicles into the nearby weigh station, which was closed.

One motorist, who nearly crashed his vehicle avoiding the cones, entered the weigh station. He told police he saw a man standing there in a camouflage tank top and shorts, stopping vehicles and talking to them. 

The cones were placed in a straight line across the highway, so several motorists had run into them, since they couldn't be seen until cars were immediately upon them.

The suspect, later identified as Jesse Reed, told the driver he was a U.S. Marshal and there was a serial killer on the loose. 

Reed told one motorist "shots had been fired" closeby, and demanded the driver travel at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or otherwise he and his passenger would be shot. 

The motorist asked for identification from Reed, who handed him over his Colorado driver's license. Becoming suspicious, the victim told his fiancée in the passenger's seat to take cover, and then sped off. 

Reed told another motorist who stopped that she should not "pass Rabbit Valley on I-70" or she would be shot.

Reed told police he put the cones in the road to "advise them."

He told responding deputies he was assisting at the weigh station in an "official capacity" to help the State Patrol and Port Authority. 

Another driver actually struck the cones, causing more than $1,000 in damages to her car, according to a police arrest affidavit for Reed. 

Mesa County sheriff's deputies arrested the 32-year-old Reed in Loma, Colorado for impersonating a police officer, reckless endangerment, obstructing a highway, criminal mischief, and trespassing. Impersonating a police officer is a felony. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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