Bridgette Sandoval sentenced for bizarre police chase she blamed on forced drug injections
When we designated Bridgette Sandoval a Schmuck of the Week back in February, we admitted that we weren't sure if her excuse for a police chase and failed escape -- she claimed she'd been forcibly injected with heroin and meth -- was brilliant or crazy.
A better word, we now know, is "ineffective," because Sandoval has earned a jail stint for her actions.
Look below to get the weird details and see photos, a video and the original arrest affidavit.
On January 15, as we've reported, a trooper stopped in a center median of Interstate 70 just east of Georgetown received a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) for a dark gray BMW sedan stolen in Silverthorne -- and a few minutes before 10 a.m., he spotted a vehicle matching the description and began to follow it and a second gray vehicle, this one a Chevrolet Impala, that seemed to be trailing directly behind it.
The aftermath of the police chase.
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
TicketsMon., Sep. 4, 1:10pm
Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres
TicketsFri., Sep. 15, 6:40pm
Colorado Rockies vs. Miami Marlins
TicketsMon., Sep. 25, 6:40pm
Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
TicketsFri., Sep. 29, 6:10pm
Denver Outlaws / Major League Lacrosse All Star Game
TicketsSat., Dec. 29, 6:00pm
The trooper admits to having had a difficult time keeping up, and it's understandable given that speeds of the two cars ahead of him reached approximately 110 miles per hour. Adding to the complication: After a second trooper joined the pursuit, the arrest affidavit says the Chevy began zooming in front of him and weaving back and forth, essentially running interference for the BMW.
At a certain point, orders were given to discontinue the chase because of the danger it was presenting to other drivers. But that didn't mean the pace cars allowed their rate of travel to flag. The Chevy was observed swerving onto the right shoulder of the highway at around 100 MPH and nearly wiping out as it passed eastbound vehicles.
Clearly, it was only a matter of time before the Impala crashed -- and the big moment came near the Denver West exit on I-70. However, the woman later identified as Sandoval was able to get out of the car and head to a nearby office complex at 1707 Cole Boulevard. By the time the trooper reached the building, a fire alarm was going off and people were exiting.
Witnesses told officers they saw a woman with dark hair run inside after the accident, and before long, Sandoval had been taken into custody, despite an energetic attempt to disguise herself. She found a pair of coveralls, a broom, a dustpan and an apron and was posing as a janitor.
Turns out the Chevy had been stolen from a dealership in Waco, Texas, the previous month.
Before long, Sandoval was transported to St. Anthony Central Hospital, and after being advised of her rights, she began to sing...and her chosen aria was quite memorable. The trooper describes her as being very upset and talking quickly as she said, "I know I am on drugs now." She added that she had been forced to take said narcotics-- she mentioned meth and heroin -- by a number of people over the previous four days, including an injection that very morning.
Continue for more about Bridgette Sandoval's sentencing, including booking photos, a video and the arrest affidavit. Her orders? Sandoval said an unnamed person "put me in a car and told me to drive...run and don't stop."
Sandoval wouldn't say why these individuals were doing such terrible things to her, although she mentioned that she'd been burned in the chest by a cigarette. She also said she wanted her blood drawn, presumably to prove that she was under the influence -- as if that alone would prove she was telling the truth.
The stolen BMW, with an arrow pointing to body damage allegedly resulting from the Colorado chase.
With Sandoval in custody, the search continued for the man in the BMW -- and a little over a week later, according to KWTX-TV, police got a tip that the vehicle was in Moody, Texas. The gray sedan had been spray-painted black and its BMW insignia was no longer in place, but cops felt certain it was the same car, in part because it showed body damage from the Colorado chase.
A couple of days of investigating later, police grabbed a man they initially thought was named Joe Ryan Vela. But that moniker turned out to be a pseudonym for Christopher Villa, who reportedly had a "laundry list" of priors.
Apparently, law enforcers didn't believe Villa or an unknown compatriot had used a needle to make Sandoval do his bidding, since she was arrested on suspicion of aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding, criminal impersonation, reckless driving and theft. And on April 22, she pleaded guilty to the first pair of charges.
This week, Sandoval received her sentence: four years in prison for the theft and three year for eluding, to run concurrently.
Looks like her excuse wasn't that great after all. Look below to see a newly released Sandoval mug shot, plus a Villa booking photo, a KWTX report broadcast before his capture, and Sandoval's police report.
More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Philip Brown's schmucky idea of a break-in target -- a sheriff's substation."
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.