TELLURIDE – Does San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters ever take a non-working vacation?
Sort of, if you consider saving lives and trying to apprehend criminals the sorts of activities he normally enjoys while trying to get away from it all.
During an August visit to the Pacific Northwest, Masters got busy helping his paramedic wife, Jill, save a man’s life atop of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, but a recent trip to the Front Range yielded heroics of a different sort.
Masters was on vacation in Colorado Springs last week when Investigator Norman Squier asked him to look for a man wanted in San Miguel County.
The Sheriff’s Office had issued a warrant for the arrest of a former local named Vincent K. Wallace on September 3 for “sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust” and Squier had been trying to track him down since then.
“It was nothing more than anybody else in the department would have done,” said Masters. “I said, ‘Sure I’ll check something out.’”
Tipped off about a neighborhood where Wallace was believed to be hanging out, and aware that the wanted man had wrecked his car, Masters got an inkling that he was getting close when he discovered the vehicle under a tarp.
Meanwhile a group of people had gathered for a Monday afternoon party a few houses down from the car, so Masters approached them to inquire about Wallace’s whereabouts.
As luck would have it, a man who resembled Wallace but who gave a different name when Masters asked was at that party.
“He ran into the house, bolted through the house out the back door, jumped over a fence and went through the alley,” Masters said.
“At least we knew we had the right guy.”
With Wallace on the run, Masters enlisted the help of local press and law enforcement to flush him out of hiding.
“Everybody was out looking for him,” he said.
Apparently the pressure got to be too much. This past Sunday night Wallace turned himself in to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.
Wallace is being held on a $60,000 bond at the San Miguel County Jail. He appeared in court on Tuesday and the District Attorney is expected to file formal charges against him within the next week.
So does Masters plan on taking a real vacation anytime soon?
“We have a place in Nicaragua,” he said. “When I get to Nicaragua, I get a little time off.”
But even then, work is never totally out of mind.
“Then I go to Spanish school,” where his teacher helps him pick up relevant lingo from local law enforcement that he can put to use back here at home.
“The Spanish school there is really good,” he said.