Parole violator uses fake ID to skip town
ASPEN Local law-enforcement agents are investigating the case of a man wanted on a parole violation who gave a false identification, bonded out and walked away May 23.When Aspen police asked Jeremy Eccles for his ID during a routine commercial vehicle checkpoint last Wednesday, he produced his brother Gilbert’s license. Gilbert was wanted on a $500 warrant out of Jefferson County, police said. Police took Jeremy Eccles into custody in the Pitkin County Jail, believing he was Gilbert.But, it was only after he bonded out on his brother’s traffic charge that fingerprint records showed Jeremy Eccles was not who he said and had a warrant on a parole violation.Jeremy Eccles served three years for vehicular homicide, jail officials said.He was not driving the moving van Aspen patrol officer Jim Crowley pulled over May 23, but when the license of the van driver came up suspended, police checked Eccles’ license to see if he was qualified to drive the vehicle.”He was very surprised he had the warrant,” Crowley said.He added: “Some people honestly don’t know. You get a ticket and forget about.” And others with warrants, Crowley noted, simply play dumb.But because Eccles showed a valid ID and owned up to the traffic warrant, officials had no reason for further suspicions, Crowley said. And jail officials stressed that they don’t wait for fingerprint records for every arrest, a process that can take hours.”That’s not the procedure,” said Pitkin County Jail supervisor Billy Tomb, adding that a background check can take up to four hours to complete.Police will issue an additional warrant for Eccles for criminal impersonation on top of the parole violation charge, Crowley said.”We’ll get him back,” Tomb said.Crowley said authorities did not have enough of reason to hold Eccles. “You really can’t [keep a person in custody] unless you know somebody has done something,” he said, adding that it took more than two hours for the fingerprint records to come back. “How long are you going to hold somebody?”After Sept. 11, 2001, a federal grant provided area law enforcement an automatic fingerprint identification system equipment for background checks on suspected terrorists, said Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.”When it’s working full speed, you get a quick turnaround on prints,” Braudis said. And while fingerprints are the “gold standard” for identification, not every case requires holding suspects for full Colorado Bureau of Investigation checks, and jail officials cannot hold people without reason.”If there is a delay, I think it’s a violation of your rights,” Braudis said. “Had the thing been working full speed, we would have nailed this guy.”The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation into the incident.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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