BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A man was arrested last week after the Colorado State Patrol says he refused to exit a burning vehicle and then assaulted law enforcement officers.
A trooper told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the man told police he thought he was on a television show as he sat inside his burning vehicle in Sunshine Canyon in the foothills just west of Boulder.
Colorado State Patrol officials said they initially received a call of a single-vehicle crash Wednesday night west of Boulder. When they arrived on scene, the found a damaged car on the wrong side of the road. When troopers and Boulder County Sheriff’s deputies asked the driver to exit the vehicle, he didn’t comply.
Witnesses nearby watched as the driver, later identified as 44-year-old Speros Palmer, allegedly tried to drive his vehicle from the scene but was unable to.
“It was like the whirling of the wheels spinning, when you are trying to get out of a ditch,” said Alice Miller, a witness.
Authorities said as the engine continues to run, the car caught fire.
“(Officers were) yelling, ‘Do you not realize your car is on fire? Get out of the car,’” Miller said. “I could see flames.”
Troopers attempted to smash out several windows as the smoke thickened. Video obtained by CBS4, captured by Artem Nikulkov, showed the flames rising as law enforcement surrounded the vehicle.
A trooper said the smoke was so thick that officers were having a hard time breathing.
“There was smoke in the car, there was smoke coming out of the car,” Miller said.
Troopers say they were eventually able to get Palmer out of the car. After he was pulled out, he attempted to run from the scene. Troopers say Palmer kicked and kneed officers before being handcuffed.
When asked why he would not exit the vehicle, troopers say Palmer claimed he was on a television show.
Colorado State Patrol officials said they believe Palmer may have been under the influence of drugs.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.