Man pleads guilty to stealing public bus with passengers on it

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. - A man accused of stealing a public bus and taking the passengers for a joy ride has pleaded guilty.

Passengers on the Summit Stage bus in February told deputies a man dressed in dark clothing and a black balaclava got on the bus at River Run, sat in the empty driver's seat and drove off.

Passengers called 911 saying the man was driving erratically on Montezuma Road, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

When deputies got to Montezuma Road, they found the bus had apparently slid off and was stuck.

They also spotted a man about a half-mile away, walking down the road.

Deputies arrested Joshua Taylor Mock. Monday, he pleaded guilty to motor vehicle theft - aggravated, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment.


-- Mock arrested after starting up Town of Alma Humvee --

Nine days before the bus incident, Mock was arrested by Alma police in Park County after the town manager saw him going through parked police and public works vehicles and start up one of the town's surplus military Humvees. The vehicle's steering wheel was locked and Mock could not drive off, Alma Police Chief Greg Flint said.

Flint described Mock as a troubled transient who was recently placed on a mental health hold after being involved in several disturbances around town in recent weeks.

In the Humvee incident, Mock was arrested for trespassing in a vehicle, resisting arrest and obstructing government operations. He was released on $1,000 bond and then violated those bond conditions with the alleged bus theft.

Flint said Mock was charged with obstructing government operations because, in a town with only three fulltime employees, his trespassing into the Humvee was soon tying up most of the employees.

A public works employee had to be called from a sewer maintenance job to tell Mock to get away from town vehicles and wait for police to arrive. Mock took off on foot, Flint said.

The chief said he soon arrived with officers from surrounding communities and the young man led them on a five minute foot chase -- stopping for the older officers to catch up and then running off again. Flint said the chase ended when Mock turned into him with a balled fist and another officer shocked him with a Taser.

The chief said town officials and residents tried to help Mock, offering to provide him with money for food, donated clothing, even bus tickets. But the man would become angry and aggressive if he didn't get what he wanted, yelling at town employees and frightening them, Flint said.  

"What most everybody says around here is we hope he can get the right kind of help he's going to need," Flint said, adding that this might require court-ordered mental health treatment.

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