Dangerous Felon Escapes From Teller County Jail

Chancey Colwell is taken into custody Tuesday in the 2000 block of Pear Avenue after having escaped from the Teller County Detention Center on Friday. Courtesy TCSO

Update: Chancey Colwell was arrested on August 10 in Canon City and transported back to Teller County Jail. Read the full article in next week’s issue of The Mountain Jackpot Newspaper.

Incident Marks First Successful Local Prison Escape in Two Decades

Trevor Phipps

Shock waves struck the area late last week, as residents learned that a dangerous inmate, residing in the Teller County jail, escaped from the facility.

And of press time Saturday afternoon, the convicted criminal, who was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer, was still on the loose.

This marks the first successful jail escape at the Teller County Jail in more than two decades,

According to a press release issued early Friday morning, inmate Chancey Colwell escaped custody at around 3 a.m. that morning. The statement said that Colwell was on work duty overnight when he managed to free himself from the jail doors.

The sheriff’s office has yet to give any more information regarding how he escaped. Sheriff Commander Lad Sullivan said that deputies are currently investigating exactly how Colwell managed to slip past guards and free himself from the facility.

The commander said that they are currently working on interviewing jail deputies and reviewing camera footage to figure out exactly how the inmate was able to get away. It is currently unknown as to whether the inmate escaped on foot or if he was assisted by someone and fled in a vehicle.

Right after the incident occurred before daybreak, deputies set up road blocks on Hwy. 67 east bound, and on both sides of Divide on Hwy. 24. Multiple agencies were involved and they were stopping every car that passed by to check for Colwell.

By Friday afternoon, the police activity in the area ceased. But then  in the day, it was reported that the FBI is now involved in trying to locate the escaped inmate.

Pictures of Colwell have been put all over social media pages and television news stations. Anyone who has seen the inmate on the run is asked to notify police.

Due to his criminal history and violent past, Colwell is considered to be extremely dangerous. Police ask that if anyone does spot the inmate,  they do not approach him and immediately notify the authorities.

The last time a jail escape occurred, it led to the end of a private contractor running the jail.  But in that case, the escapee, also regarded as an extremely dangerous felon, was caught shortly after leaving the facility, after suffering from an asthma attack.

A lengthy and Lively Rap Sheet

Colwell first made the news when he was arrested for assaulting the police chief of Florence in December 2015. According to police reports, the Florence PD received a shoplifting call and began looking for Colwell.

Once the police chief found him, the chief approached him and Colwell immediately got violent. The reports say Colwell picked up a metal bar that was part of a display rack and started attacking the chief.

After the struggle Colwell was hit in the stomach with a taser and taken into custody. The police chief also suffered injuries when he accidentally hit himself in the arm with the taser during the struggle.

Colwell spent four years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer. But then after he was released on parole, Colwell’s crime spree continued.

In November 2020, police officers in Canon City tried to pull Colwell over for a traffic stop when they found out that he had multiple felony warrants. Colwell refused to stop and led the police officers on a chase that eventually ended up in Teller County.

Colwell ran from police officers in Canon City and brought the chase up Shelf Road and into southern Teller County. When he arrived near Cripple Creek, police had the road blocked off forcing Colwell to head towards Victor.

During the chase, deputies said that Colwell shot at the Teller County deputies and the other officers that were chasing him. Luckily, none of the officers were struck with a bullet during the chase.

The chase went through Victor and Colwell parked his car near Skaguay Reservoir and then took off on foot. Deputies chased the man through the woods and were not able to find him until the next day, when they noticed smoke coming out of an abandoned cabin.

As the deputies approached the cabin, Colwell once again took off on foot. After a short chase and brief struggle, the deputies were able to take him into custody. During his arrest, they found a handgun strapped to his waist.

Colwell was charged with several felony charges including attempted murder of a police officer and was put in Teller County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Last week, a district court judge sentenced Colwell to 34 years in prison for the incident. In fact, Colwell was waiting to be transported to prison at the time of his escape.