When a Gila County Sheriff’s Office deputy stopped to help a man whose vehicle had slid off Highway 87 due to severe weather Sunday, he had no idea the man was wanted on a homicide warrant.
After eluding capture for the last six years, Byron Matheu now sits in a Gila County Jail awaiting extradition back to California on a warrant out of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said Lt. Tim Scott.
Sometime around noon, Sunday, Matheu lost control of his vehicle on Highway 87 at the Gibson Ranch Road intersection.
While driving northbound on Highway 87, deputy Leonard Kerszykowski saw Matheu’s vehicle and turned around to offer assistance. Sgt. Craig Smith also arrived to help.
“It was determined that there was no accident and the vehicle had just slid off the road due to inclement weather and snow,” Scott said.
While Smith and Kerszykowski helped to remove the vehicle, Matheu gave the deputies false information on his identity.
“Deputies brought Byron to the sheriff’s office in Payson where he was positively identified by his fingerprints along with him giving his correct name and date of birth,” Scott said.
The warrant for Matheu’s arrest was issued on Feb. 23, 2004 for a homicide where a victim was shot to death in the city of Lancaster, Scott said. Matheu had been living in the Payson area for the last four years.