By Lauren DiSpirito
WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) -The Ault police officer arrested in a deadly road rage incident has been charged with vehicular homicide, a class 4 felony.
Upon formal filing of the charge, a judge unsealed court documents in the case, shedding light on what investigators believe happened in the June 1 incident.
Forty-eight-year-old Blair Jackson, an off-duty Ault police officer, was arrested after the crash with a pickup between Platteville and Gilcrest, on Highway 85. The deceased driver has been identified as Esteban Moreno Jr., 39, of Evans.
Family members told CBS4 that Moreno Jr. was headed to a relative’s home in Longmont at the time of the crash.
According to an arrest affidavit in the case, shortly before 6 o’clock that evening, witnesses describe seeing Jackson engage in “ongoing road rage” with Moreno Jr. Three witnesses reported seeing the vehicles reach speeds of 80-90 miles per hour. One witness described it as “playing leap frog,” saying the two were tailgating each other.
Jackson used his vehicle to strike Moreno Jr.’s, side-to-side, the report states. Then, Moreno made a similar move with his vehicle, striking Jackson’s vehicle. Witnesses told investigators that Jackson then pulled in front of Moreno Jr., cutting him off and causing Moreno Jr. to lose control and crash. Moreno Jr. died at the scene.
Jackson told investigators it was Moreno Jr. who tried to run him off the road. He said he was on his way home from work at the time, and was trying to “get out of traffic,” the document states. Investigators have not said what may have sparked the road rage incident.
Jackson is out of custody on $25,000 bond. His attorneys did not respond to a CBS4 interview request Thursday.
Ault Police Chief Rich Strang said Jackson has been an employee of his department since December 2015, working as a patrol officer. Jackson is now on unpaid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Court records indicate Jackson has no criminal history, but he does have a history of driving offenses. Infractions include a case in Arapahoe County in January, in which Jackson was originally charged with careless driving resulting in injury and pleaded guilty to a lesser offense, and, a 1998 case in Larimer County, in which Jackson pleaded guilty to careless driving and received a deferred sentence.