Stolen car and gun found after road rage shooting
August 19, 2015
EAGLE — A man who admitted to police that he was the shooter in a road rage incident stuck with his story and pleaded guilty to charges stemming from that incident last week.
Manuel Jose Serrano-Lerma, 29, was driving a car stolen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and fired at another motorist with a gun that had the serial numbers filed off.
He said he was trying to get an aggressive driver to back off him, said Thea Reiff, Serrano-Lerma's attorney with the Public Defender's Office.
Serrano-Lerma was having trouble passing another car, driven by Cody Reed Holland, as they headed east near Glenwood Canyon on Interstate 70.
Holland admitted to police that he wouldn't let Serrano-Lerma pass and that he would parallel other vehicles on the road to keep Serrano-Lerma from passing. The two rolled along like this from about mile markers 133 to 176.
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About the time they hit the main Vail exit, Holland looked in his rearview mirror and saw Serrano-Lerma brandishing a handgun, a silver revolver.
Holland was in the left lane and Serrano-Lerma was in the right as Serrano-Lerma began to draw even. As they neared the East Vail exit, Serrano-Lerma fired one round from the handgun, a .357 revolver. Serrano-Lerma fired from his open drivers side window and hit Holland's car in the right front fender, near where a female passenger was riding in Holland's car.
When Holland realized his car had been shot, he stopped and called 911. Neither Holland nor the woman were injured.
The Colorado State Patrol and Vail police quickly caught Serrano-Lerma and the woman riding with him, Chelsey Jacobs. Both Holland and the woman identified Serrano-Lerma as the shooter and said they did not see Jacobs brandishing the weapon.
A quick check with the big cop computer found that Serrano-Lerma was on probation in New Mexico, a felon convicted on multiple charges and was wanted in New Mexico on another felony warrant.
Police found the gun stuffed into the center console of the stolen car Serrano-Lerma was driving. The gun's serial numbers had been obliterated and were unreadable.
The white Mitsubishi that Serrano-Lerma was driving turned out to have been stolen at gunpoint with the owner bound, gagged and kidnapped in Albuquerque. (He later escaped). The car had fake license plates when police caught up with Serrano-Lerma.
Serrano-Lerma told police at the scene, "I don't know why you're holding her. I'm the shooter," according to police reports.
Jacobs was taken to the Vail Police Department, where she initially said her name was Lucy Lerma. Then she said her name was Cheri Ann Jacobs, who turned out to be her sister.
When police figured out Jacobs' real identity, they found she was also wanted in New Mexico on felony charges.
In District Judge Paul Dunkelman's court, Serrano-Lerma pleaded guilty to three felony charges, he and faces up to 16 years in state prison.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.