Crime

Fourteen-year old leads Colorado State Patrol on 100 mile chase in (possibly) stolen car

What's the most memorable thing you did at age fourteen? In all likelihood, it was less audacious, and less dangerous, than the acts committed earlier today by an Eastern Colorado teen, who led the Colorado State Patrol on a high-speed chase for a hundred miles before finally being wrenched from a car that may or may not have been stolen.

CSP Trooper Heather Cobler has the cinematic details.

According to Cobler, the excitement began at 6:57 a.m. in the tiny town of Arriba -- one of the favorite words of a certain Speedy Gonzales -- after the CSP received a report of a fuel theft. This information was "BOLOed out," meaning officers were alerted to "be on the lookout" for a green Pontiac coupe.

As luck would have it, the CSP had a vehicle in the area -- but it was a hazmat truck, which the teen was easily able to outrun. Another trooper picked up the tail again at westbound Interstate 70 near mile post 373, but the teen refused to pull over, instead using what Cobler refers to as "speed and lane violations" to maintain a lead. Then, near Byers, the pursuit was discontinued due to safety concerns.

"It's a balancing act," Cobler says of such decisions. "We need to weigh what the initial violation was, the reason for the stop, versus possible jeopardy to the public, the officers and the suspect as well. And in this case, the initial report was about fuel theft. We didn't have a report about other dangerous actions, like assault or the presence of weapons. So we decided to terminate."

Not that they washed their hands of the Arriba leadfoot. The CSP contacted the Aurora Police Department, and near I-70 and Tower Road, they tossed out what Cobler calls "stop sticks -- they're a triangular kind of thing, and underneath the cloth it's got some little metal posts, like a hollow nail that goes into the tires and lets the air out slowly, so it's safer."

The stop sticks worked, flattening all four of the Pontiac's tires. But when officers approached the coupe, the teenager resisted, albeit passively. "She refused to exit the vehicle," Cobler notes, "so a window had to be broken to remove her."

The teen was taken to Lincoln County hospital to be treated for minor injuries -- likely cuts or scratches from the broken glass -- before being transported to court. At this point, Cobler says, "the stolen vehicle report is still in the hands of the registered owner," whose name isn't being released to avoid providing information that might lead to the identification of the fourteen-year old.

Who'll have one helluva story to tell some day.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts