Updated: February 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm
BUENA VISTA — A device that authorities feared might be a bomb in the bed of a pickup in a Colorado mountain town wasn't an explosive after all, the sheriff said Tuesday.
The object was either a practice military shell or a replica of a military shell wired to a cellphone, Chaffee County Sheriff Pete Palmer said.
"It had all the appearances of an IED (improvised explosive device) or something very, very dangerous," Palmer said. "I don't know what the motive was. It was obviously a hoax."
The device was turned over to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for analysis at the agency's laboratory in nearby Colorado Springs.
U.S. 24, a busy highway through Buena Vista, was reopened Tuesday afternoon. It was closed while a bomb squad from Colorado Springs determined what the device was.
Buena Vista is a small mining town and whitewater tourist destination about 135 miles southwest of Denver.
A member of the Buena Vista library's maintenance staff discovered the device in the back of her pickup Tuesday morning while it was parked downtown between the library and police station, Palmer said.
Palmer said the woman did not know how the device got into the bed of her truck.
The Buena Vista School District sent out an alert message telling parents that the district has been put on "lockout" status because of the situation, meaning students and staff can move freely through the school but no one is allowed in or out.