LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- An investigation into a case of road rage resulting in death concluded that no charges should be filed, according to the Larimer County District Attorney.
On Feb. 8, William “Jason” Wheeler was reportedly involved in a fight that resulted in his death; the final Coroner's report was completed on March 5.
The District Attorney’s Office reviewed police reports, photos, videos, dispatch and communication records, witness interviews, witness statements, and findings made by the Larimer County Coroner’s Office before coming to the conclusion that charges will not be filed.
According to the report, at roughly 3:10 p.m., Loveland Police Department 911 operators received a series of calls about a fight on the shoulder of southbound Lincoln Ave.
Three people were involved, including Jason Wheeler, Wheeler's father, Joseph, and Marcus Ryan Bosch.
Jason Wheeler and his father were in a Red Chevrolet Yukon while Bosch was driving a small black sedan.
Wheeler and Bosch said that road rage sparked the fight that took place after the men had pulled their vehicles to the side of the road.
Bosch told police that he pulled over and used his arm to wave the Wheeler vehicle to pass him. Joseph Wheeler said that he saw Bosch’s arm movement but interpreted it to mean that Mr. Bosch was “inviting them to the side of the road.”
Bosch stated that as soon as the vehicles were stopped, Jason Wheeler immediately exited the passenger side of the Yukon and approached his vehicle.
Jason Wheeler opened a motor oil container and poured oil all over Bosch's vehicle and then throw the oil container into the partially open passenger window of the vehicle.
Bosch said that Joseph Wheeler then got out of the Yukon and came to the side of his car. Bosch admitted that he felt threatened and Jason Wheeler continually challenged him to get out of his car and confront him.
Bosch said that he got out of his car, but before doing so grabbed a “flashlight tazer.” Jason continued to challenge him and stepped closer before Bosch pushed Jason while stepping backwards. Bosch said that Jason told him that he would “knock his lights out” and “bury him alive.”
Jason Wheeler was approximately 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 330 pounds at the time of his death. Joseph Wheeler is approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs approximately 260 pounds. Bosch is approximately 6 feet tall and weighs roughly 185 pounds, according to the release.
According to Bosch, Jason Wheeler punched him in the left side of the face before Joseph Wheeler punched him in his left ear.
Later photographs showed injuries consistent with that statement. Bosch stated that he attempted to “tackle” Jason Wheeler and was able to place him in a “rear naked choke to prevent him from hitting me.”
After Bosch had Jason Wheeler in the hold, he reported that Joseph Wheeler told him to let Jason go while Joseph Wheeler intermittently continued to punch him.
Bosch said that he told Joseph Wheeler that he would let go if Joseph returned to his vehicle, because “I can’t fight you both.” Joseph Wheeler told him that he would go back to his vehicle, but said he was going to “get his [expletive] gun.”
Bosch stated that he began to drive away, but pulled back to the side of the road in front of the Wheeler vehicle to attempt to take a picture of the Wheeler’s license plate number. When he did so, he noticed that Jason was still on the ground.
Bosch got out of his vehicle to attempt to "render aid". He realized Jason was not breathing and ran up to an arriving witness telling them to call 911.
Jason Wheeler was non-responsive and witnesses began to perform CPR on him. The first police and emergency medical responders arrived shortly after that and Jason Wheeler was transported to McKee Medical Center. He was pronounced dead on Feb. 8, 2019 at 4:06 p.m.
Joseph Wheeler said the incident began when he was driving and the black car “rubbed him wrong” and acknowledged participating in the aggressive driving incident that ensued.
He also stated that while they were driving, Jason Wheeler took out his pocketknife and cut the top and neck off an oil container. He confirmed that Jason got out of their Yukon and poured oil on the other driver’s windshield. He said he tried to break up the fight after he saw Bosch had his son in a “choke hold" but admitted to saying he would “get my gun.”
After that, Joseph said Bosch punched him in the head and that everything was “cloudy” for him after that.
Joseph Wheeler denied ever seeing Jason punch Bosch and denied throwing any punches himself.
He agreed that a person in Bosch’s position seeing Jason and Joseph Wheeler get out of a vehicle and approach would be “intimidating.” Loaded magazines for a firearm were located within the Wheeler vehicle.
Multiple witnesses drove past the scene and observed parts of the fight. None of the witnesses said that Bosch appeared to be the aggressor. Bosch remained on scene when officers arrived and has fully cooperated throughout the investigation, according to the DA.
The Larimer County Coroner’s office determined that Jason Wheeler’s cause of death was “asphyxiation due to being placed in a choke hold by another individual. A road rage incident with associated altercation was the precipitating factor.”
The DA said there is no evidence to suggest that Bosch used force with the intent to cause Wheeler’s death.
The DA also said that evidence supports that Jason Wheeler was the initial aggressor in the altercation and that both Wheelers had a significant size advantage over Bosch, who "reasonably perceived a simultaneous need to defend himself against both Jason and Joseph Wheeler. The evidence supports a conclusion that Mr. Bosch’s use of force against Jason Wheeler was undertaken with the goal of ending the altercation and removing himself from the situation rather than inflicting serious injury or death on Mr. Jason Wheeler."
The DA's office said the decision not to file criminal charges in this matter is based upon the status of the evidence at this time but said the decision could be revisited if more information comes to light.
Wheeler's wife, Mary Wheeler, says she's heartbroken by the decision.
"Yesterday, when they approached me and told me there would be no charges applied, that was a difficult moment," she said. "I had no idea they'd just wash this away."
Mary says she feels like the report was one-sided and didn't include information provided by Jason's father, the only other full witness.
"I'm not saying that Jason was 100 percent innocent and that this wasn't a bad situation, but this is written to make my husband look like a monster. I don't want people to read this and look at our family in that light. It's just not accurate," she said.
Mary said the decision has changed her perspective.
"I've always had faith in our justice system, and I'm quite the opposite now," she said.AlertMe