Bomb threat closes Eagle County courthouse, jail |

Bomb threat closes Eagle County courthouse, jail

SCOTT N. MILLEReagle county correspondent

EAGLE – Bonnie Wells was wondering how she was going to get home.Wells and her son were sitting in a courtroom in Eagle when the word came: Get out of the building.Wells, her son, and everyone else in the building had to leave because of a hoax bomb threat phoned into the court office just before 2:45 p.m. Monday. The threat forced the evacuation of courtrooms, offices, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the county jail. Once the building was empty, it was locked up tight, while local police waited for bomb-sniffing dogs to be brought in from Aspen and Jefferson County.Once at the scene, the dogs cleared the building fairly quickly, and jail inmates were taken back to the jail at about 7 p.m. Court clerks, police officers and judges were allowed in a few minutes later.Besides locking down the building, the courthouse parking lot was sealed off, too, meaning anyone parked there couldn’t leave in their cars.After a couple of hours of milling around or sitting in warm buses brought in by the county’s ECO Transit service, people were allowed to drive away, but only if they were driving their own cars.Another handful of buses were used to take jail inmates to a “safe” location.”They’re safe, and the public’s safe,” said Jail Supervisor Bill Kaufman. “We had everyone out within a half hour.” The Eagle Police Department – which led the investigation – quickly shut down traffic for virtually the length of Chambers Avenue. Those who live and work west of the courthouse were allowed to get out of the area via U.S. Highway 6 on a temporary road created near the town’s shop.As the incident went on, the road closure shrank, and eventually only about three blocks were closed off.While the bomb threat was a hoax, there was some very real fear.”Once we got out, it was nerve-wracking,” Wells said. “At first we were all kind of milling around near the front door, but then they came out and told us to get all the way away.”

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