Douglas County

Officers say they feared for lives during chase

By Chris Michlewicz
Posted
Galley

One after another, a line of police officers took the stand and said they feared for their lives during a February 2013 high-speed chase from Castle Rock to Parker.

The jury hung on every word. The man the officers said was responsible, CJ Galley, sat quietly at the defense table.

Galley, 24, whose trial got underway June 11 at the Robert A. Christensen Justice Center in Castle Rock, faces seven counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, among 30 other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers from various agencies testified at length about a "chaotic" scene at the Taco Bell on Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock on Feb. 22, 2013, saying Galley repeatedly rammed undercover vehicles to escape an organized arrest on a felony warrant for assault on an officer.

Once he had enough room to maneuver, Galley allegedly drove over the legs of Commerce City police Detective Rob Feeney, who was thrown to the ground when his truck was hit, and led police on a chase around Castle Rock.

Commerce City police Detective Jeremy Jenkins testified that speeds reached 125 mph on Crowfoot Valley Road, where Galley turned off his headlights and veered into oncoming lanes before reaching Parker. He and Broomfield police Sgt. Erik Fredrick told jurors that the driver of the Dodge Ram 3500 they were chasing fired two shots in their direction. Fredrick, who was holding an M-4 assault rifle during the chase, testified that he was prepared to use lethal force if the driver exited the truck.

Three Parker police officers took the stand June 13, including Greg Epp, who was forced to run up a hill to avoid being run over by the speeding truck when it drove off the road and through a ditch to miss a set of spike strips.

"I got out of there as fast as I could... so I didn't get hit and killed," Epp said.

Jurors watched dash cam footage from the officers' patrol vehicles. In one video, the truck can be seen rounding a curve and nearing the officers staged on Crowfoot Valley Road just south of Stroh Road. Shouts of "here he comes!" can be heard.

Three Parker officers shot at the vehicle after it passed by, including Epp, who fired six times. One of his rounds hit Gwen Devilbiss, the rear seat passenger in the truck, in the arm. David Vasquez, who was in the passenger seat, has been charged and will be tried separately.

The chase ultimately ended in the Clarke Farms subdivision after the occupants ditched the vehicle and fled on foot. They were apprehended hours later.

The trial is expected to conclude June 17.