Crime

Injury but No Death in Glendale Cop Incident Similar to Fatal Shooting

The driver allegedly struck two Glendale patrol cars while fleeing.
The driver allegedly struck two Glendale patrol cars while fleeing. glendale.co.us
The Glendale Police Department is on the lookout for a driver who injured a police officer in an incident that took place early this morning, January 29.

The circumstances sound nearly identical to an incident on Halloween night 2020 involving a man named John Pacheaco, but with one important distinction: No triggers were pulled this time, while Pacheaco died amid what's estimated to have been a seventeen-shot barrage.

According to the GPD, at 2:18 a.m. on January 29, an as-yet-unnamed officer was "conducting a routine patrol" when he "contacted an occupied vehicle at 4850 Leetsdale Drive. The vehicle, a Gold Chrysler Town and Country minivan, was backed into a parking space in the hotel parking lot with the reverse lights still on."

Upon approaching the vehicle, the account continues, the officer peered inside to see four occupants, including the driver, who "was slumped over the steering wheel in a manner consistent with being asleep or passed out. The vehicle was in reverse and the driver had his foot on the brake."

The officer positioned his patrol car in front of the minivan to prevent it from driving off, according to the GPD, then called fellow officers to assist before attempting to wake the driver. While the driver was initially unresponsive, the officer was eventually able to open the vehicle's door and attempt communication. But the driver "appeared to be heavily intoxicated and refused to follow instructions given by the officers to place the vehicle into park. After a brief period, the driver looked away from the officer, placed the vehicle in drive and accelerated sharply, turning southbound out of the parking space and striking two patrol cars as it made its escape."

In the process, the officer was struck by the rear of the vehicle on the driver's side and was transported to Rose Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries; that officer has already been released.

The sequence of events that led to Pacheaco's death are strikingly similar. Just prior to 10 p.m. on October 31, 2020, according to Pacheaco family attorney Matthew Haltzman, officers spotted a Dodge pickup truck that had come to a stop on Colorado Boulevard not far from the Alameda intersection. Pacheaco was behind the wheel and seemed to be dealing with what Haltzman describes as either "a medical event or an issue of intoxication." A Glendale officer pulled up behind the truck; shortly thereafter, other units arrived and parked in a way intended to make fleeing impossible. But the truck subsequently rolled forward into one police car before shifting into reverse and hitting more vehicles to the rear. At that point, the cops started shooting — and Pacheaco was hit in the chest, neck and arm. In the process, an officer sustained minor injuries after being hit by a vehicle, spending a few hours at a nearby hospital before being released. Pacheaco died on the scene.

There was no tragedy this time around — but there's still a wanted suspect. The Glendale Police Department is asking for assistance in locating the minivan, which bore the Idaho license plate K571711; dial 911 or phone the Glendale Police Department at 303-759-1511 if you have information.
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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