Standoff concludes peacefully at Vallecito Reservoir dam

A three-hour standoff ended peacefully Tuesday after law enforcement removed a La Plata County woman from her car near the dam at Vallecito Reservoir.

Suzanne Alsum, 41, faces charges of theft, prohibited use of a weapon and vehicular eluding, said Dan Bender, spokesman for the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident began shortly before 9:40 a.m., when someone reported Alsum had stolen a rifle. A deputy who was responding found Alsum’s vehicle headed southbound in the Vallecito area.

The deputy followed the vehicle, and pulled Alsum over near the dam, Bender said.

She was uncooperative and refused to get out of the vehicle, he said. She called her daughter during the traffic stop and threatened to kill herself or have deputies kill her, Bender said.

The Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and the Bayfield Marshal’s Office responded. They placed spike strips in front of and behind her car, and an armored vehicle was brought in.

At some point, Alsum threw a revolver from the car, but deputies were unsure if she had other weapons.

Negotiators counseled the woman through a public-address system because cellphone service at the reservoir is not good, said Undersheriff David Griggs.

“Everything ended peacefully, although we had to break out a couple of windows of her vehicle,” he said.

Deputies eventually reached through the windows, grabbed her hands and took her into custody, Bender said.

The standoff came to an end about 12:30 p.m.

Traffic on County Road 501 was stopped during the standoff.

The woman is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and medication, Bender said. She was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center, where she was in critical condition Tuesday night as a result of a possible overdose, Bender said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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