GRAND JUNCTION – A man wanted in connection with a slaying in Utah led authorities on two wrong-way chases, briefly kidnapped a woman after breaking into her home to change his clothes and steal her car and apparently stole a bicycle after crashing another stolen car, according to police.
James Main Jr., 34, was arrested in Grand Junction on Sunday, just under 24 hours after an officer first spotted him and in the western Colorado city and chased his car but gave up the pursuit after Main allegedly drove erratically and sped the wrong way down a road. He was being held Monday on a homicide warrant from Duchesne County, Utah, where he is suspected of being involved with the death of a 56-year-old man and the kidnapping of two other men at gunpoint on Friday.
It’s not clear if Main has a lawyer yet. A woman who identified himself as his sister, Monica Main Vreeken, said in Facebook messages to The Associated Press that her brother suffers from mental illness. She said she and other relatives had reached out to police and hospitals to try to get help for him in the days before the slaying.
Authorities in Grand Junction and surrounding Mesa County, which borders Utah, had gotten word that Main could be in the area before the first chase. Police spokeswoman Heidi Davidson said they didn’t know why he was there.
After the initial chase, Main was able to elude police as he allegedly tried to carjack several vehicles. But police had numerous reports of sightings after sharing Main’s descriptions on social media.
He was apparently able to steal a car that he ended up crashing and then running away from before being spotted riding a bicycle on Sunday morning. Then police say he went into a home and demanded car keys from a resident, who refused.
He left and, according to police, shortly afterward ended up breaking into another home, changed his clothes, took the car from the home and forced a woman in the home to go with him. She was able to escape from the car at some point and wasn’t injured, police said.
By that point, law enforcement agencies from around the county had officers stationed at interstate exits. A Colorado State trooper spotted the stolen vehicle.
Authorities chased it as it drove erratically, often in the wrong direction, for about 10 minutes until they were able to stop it and arrest Main, who no longer had the bushy goatee seen in the photo circulated by law enforcement, police said.