Vehicular homicide allegations don't get much more bizarre than the one aimed at 21-year-old Jess Plouvier.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office believes Plouvier is responsible for the death of Ian Saj, 33. However, a separate accident involving Saj and two friends preceded the fatal one -- and it appears that Plouvier initially pulled over and offered to help before an altercation spiraled into tragedy. Get the specifics of this tangled tale below.
According to the EPCSO, the tragedy in question took place during the early morning hours of December 8 on Highway 115 near Glenrock Drive, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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Along that stretch, a car occupied by three people -- Saj and Randy Hardin among them -- slid off the roadway and overturned. At that time, none of the occupants was badly hurt, and they were able to scale the embankment, return to the highway and attempt to flag down passing vehicles.
Before long, Plouvier stopped -- and CBS4 reports that he seemingly did so with the intention of assisting the men. But something went wrong, with Plouvier and Hardin reportedly getting into what the EPCSO describes as a "physical altercation."
In the end, Plouvier refused to give the men a ride and drove off, leaving the trio to try and find someone else more willing to give aid. But instead, Saj was hit and killed by a car that soon vanished.
Here's a photo of Saj, a Brush resident, from his Facebook page, which has become a de facto memorial for him...
...and here's a shot of Hardin and Saj together, taken the day before the latter's death:
Our condolences to Saj's friends, family and loved ones.
So how did attention for the hit-and-run turn back to Plouvier?
The break in the case came on December 9, via a tip received by the Florence Police Department and subsequently forwarded to the Colorado State Patrol.
The person reaching out suggested that Plouvier had been behind the wheel of the vehicle that had struck and killed Saj -- meaning, presumably, that rather than heading home and staying there after his dust-up with Hardin, he'd doubled back and returned to the scene.
At this point, several agencies were working on the case, with the Florence police, Colorado State Patrol and El Paso County Sheriff's Office receiving a hand from the Fremont County Sheriff's Office and the Canon City Police Department.
Together, they managed to secure a search warrant for Plouvier's home in Florence, and while he wasn't at home, something else was: a vehicle with headlamp and front-bumper damage consistent with the kind of crash that killed Saj.
Shortly thereafter, Plouvier was located at a residence in Canon City, where he was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of vehicular homicide and accidents involving death or personal injuries, both felonies.
Plouvier's Facebook page notes that he attended Florence High School and worked at Magnum Caseworks/Apex Audio Systems. Most of his posts feature humorous graphics like this one....
...and random observations such as "Curry curry curry currrrryyyyy. Curry is good. Chicken curry," "FREE BEERR ayhfrmnxfklpwqsafder" and "Keep on rockin' in the free world."
His world isn't free right now. The bond placed on him is valued at $100,000. Here's a larger look at this booking photo.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa August: "Erin Jackson, Aurora teacher, sentenced to community service in East High hit-and-run."