Man hospitalized after climbing power tower near Rawhide plant

A man who led Larimer County sheriff’s deputies on a half-hour chase through the northern part of the county fled up a 100-foot-tall transmission tower about 2-miles west of the Rawhide Energy Station, northwest of Wellington. He was talked down by a sheriff’s negotiator after spending three hours 50 feet above the ground and transported to Poudre Valley Hospital.

A man climbed a high-tension power line tower to elude Larimer County Sheriff’s deputies on July 10. Photo by Doug Conarroe

According to Sheriff’s Department spokesman John Schulz, the incident began about 10 a.m. Tuesday, when deputies were advised of a domestic dispute in the 12400 block of Larimer County Road 17 (North Shields Street) The female party in that dispute told dispatchers that her boyfriend had left the home and was believed to be driving under the influence of drugs.

At approximately noon deputies determined that his vehicle was in the area of W. County Road 78 and North County Road 17. The 33-year-old driver fled from the deputies. The pursuit ended at approximately 12:30 p.m. near County Road 15 and West County Road 84 when deputies stopped the vehicle with a Precision Immobilization Technique.

The Fort Collins man then fled on foot and was chased by deputies to an area near County Road 15 and West County Road 82. The man began climbing a high-voltage transmission tower owned by Western Area Power Authority. Deputies requested WAPA shut down the power to the tower. WAPA spokeswoman Lisa Meiman said it was de-energized about 1 p.m. and the 345 kilovolts of current rerouted to prevent any power outages.

Larimer County sheriff’s negotiators were finally able to convince the man to come down at approximately 3 p.m. He was immediately transferred to PVH for evaluation and admission. It is not believed that he suffered any injuries during his climb, but his condition has not been released.

The man’s identity is being withheld pending charges being filed. The tower was re-energized after the incident ended.

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