Ryan Stone chase: Did authorities unnecessarily endanger the public during pursuit?
Yesterday, we recapped the wild, hour-long chase that resulted in the arrest of Ryan Stone, who'd stolen a car with a four-year-old inside. Given that a number of cars were struck during the pursuit, and a state trooper was seriously injured, should authorities have backed off, especially after the child was safe? That's among the questions being asked in the wake of the incident, which wouldn't have happened had Stone been arrested as planned the week before. Photos, video, a document and details below.
Just past 6 a.m. yesterday, as we've reported, a red minivan was swiped at a gas station located at 1750 Main Street in Longmont.
The woman who owned the vehicle had left her son, subsequently identified as Allen Chavarria-Rodriquez, inside.
The first break following the issuance of an Amber Alert came around 7:15 a.m., when the minivan in question was eyeballed heading south on I-25 in the Thornton area.
Police soon responded, resulting in a chase that continued through neighborhoods and on roadways such as Interstate 76 while news helicopters captured the action.
Then, at E-470 near 152nd, the wanted driver, ID'd as Stone, abandoned his red minivan in favor of a gold one that he managed to block and and then snatch when the latter's two occupants bailed out.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Bellamann Hee.
Fortunately, Stone didn't take young Allen with him. The boy was found moments later by members of the Commerce City Police Department.
He was shaken up but otherwise safe and unharmed.
Meanwhile, Stone left a trail of havoc in his wake, avoiding stop sticks left by law enforcers on at least two occasions, and actually striking a Colorado State Patrol trooper in the vicinity of E-470 and Chambers. The trooper, identified as Bellamann Hee, was originally listed in serious condition, but he's expected to survive and recover from his injuries.
Other cars were also hit by Stone, including a silver BMW, which he commandeered after yanking the female driver out of the passenger compartment and hurling her to the ground. But he ditched the Beemer around Peoria and Lincoln and continued on foot.
Bad idea: He was rounded up just after 8 a.m., bringing the chase to an end.
Afterward, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office issued statements about the incident, with Undersecretary Tony Spurlock attempting to short-circuit any suggestions that law enforcers took too many risks to reel Stone in.
"We had to apprehend this guy. He was not going to stop committing crimes," Spurlock said. "We were in constant communication with all law enforcement agencies involved. All of them helped hold traffic, blocked intersections and we did everything we could do to make sure no citizens were in harm's way, although they were, because quite frankly, he rammed them."
Added Sheriff David A. Weaver, "There are a lot of people who lived through this horrific event and our hearts and prayers go out to all of them. Thank goodness everyone is okay and the boy is okay, with the exception of the State Trooper, who is in serious condition...our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Meanwhile, 7News obtained documents showing that Stone was targeted with arrest last week but split from a courtroom before he could formally be taken into custody.
As for why he'd been earmarked by authorities in the first place, an arrest warrant accompanying a motion to revoke his bond also obtained by the station offers reasons aplenty.
The warrant documents law enforcement contact on February 12 after Stone was pulled over while driving a truck whose license was not on file.
A highly agitated Stone claimed the truck had been purchased by his girlfriend, ID'd as Natasha McMurry, even though the ignition was broken, and it could only be started using a screwdriver. And he also disavowed ownership of drugs found in the truck.
Among the information provided by Stone as Arapahoe County deputies arranged for the truck to be towed:
• "He had just gotten out of prison after four years for Methamphetamine."
• "He had just gotten another drug-related charge three days ago in Arapahoe County, where Meth was found inside the vehicle by a drug K9."
• "He had owned the truck for five days, and this was the third time it was being towed."
• "He was completely innocent of any drugs that had been located in the truck."
Innocence will be a lot tougher to assert this time around. Here's the aforementioned 7News story, followed by the motion and probable cause affidavit.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa March 12: "Video: Ryan Stone busted after wild car chase with kidnapped four-year-old."