Police officials are praising the work of a Hayden police officer for apprehending five suspects thought to have been involved in an armed robbery last month.
Officers from six law enforcement agencies worked together to locate the car occupied by the five suspects, but it was Officer Ed Corriveau -- the only Hayden police officer on duty that night -- who made the stop.
"They may have gotten away if a sharp officer like Ed Corriveau hadn't apprehended them," said Sgt. Ray Birch of the Routt County Sheriff's Office. "I found him and shook his hand and gave him that thanks. It was that notable."
Police said the three men and two women Corriveau pulled over Feb. 22 were heading back to Craig after they tried to buy methamphetamine from a Steamboat Springs man.
Steamboat police said two of the Craig men entered the Steamboat man's mobile home and offered him a .357-calibur Magnum for the drugs. The Steamboat man refused the gun, police said.
Police said Apollo William Clark, 19, and David Kim Johnston, 30, of Craig then took turns threatening the Steamboat man -- Thomas Edward Payne -- with the gun. Police said that after Payne gave them his drugs, one of the Craig men struck him in the head with the gun. Payne called police, told officers the men took his money and gave officers the name of one of the men and a description of the vehicle they were riding in, police said. Officers suspected the vehicle was headed west on U.S. Highway 40.
"The name they gave I recognized," said Corriveau, who described Hayden that night as "absolutely dead."
"My natural reaction was just keeping my eyes open to see if they came along," he said.
The vehicle description was vague, Corriveau said, but he spotted a car that matched the description while he was patrolling Jefferson Avenue.
"I passed them, turned around and started following when I recognized the guy," said Corriveau, whose father was the sheriff of Moffat County for 12 years.
He followed the car one-quarter mile west of town and initiated a felony stop -- a high-risk traffic stop involving people suspected of committing violent crimes or possessing weapons. It was the first time the 29-year-old initiated a felony stop in the five years he has been on the force.
"I turned all the lights on, got on the PA and told everyone to keep their hands up," Corriveau said.
He then waited for backup.
"Obviously, I'm concerned about any movement," he said. "Who's got the weapon? Where is the weapon? Who's got the weapon on them?" were some of the questions he asked himself. "All these things go though your mind. Are we going to get in a shootout, or is everything going to go as it's supposed to?"
Routt County Sheriff's Office Deputies Jeff Bond and Mike Murphy arrived within minutes, and Sgt. Dan Kelliher was on scene a few minutes later.
"I'm sure the suspect didn't think he would get caught, because if you rob a drug dealer, you don't expect them to call the cops," Hayden Police Chief Jody Lenahan said. "I'd say it's pretty good police work."
Birch said it was a potentially dangerous situation.
"Look at all the ingredients," he said. "You have a volatile crime and a possible firearm, and you're by yourself."
Colorado State Patrol Troopers Kirk Gardner, Ryan Parker and Tonya Cowen also provided backup, as did Hayden police Officer Gordon Booco. The five suspects in the car were taken into custody without incident. A gun was found in the car, police said.
"It took all of us to get this done that night," Corriveau said.
Corriveau said Routt County dispatchers also were key to catching the suspects.
"Everyone had the same information," Corriveau said. "The information flow was just awesome."
"These types of dangerous situations aren't just limited to the big city," Birch said.
The Hayden Police Department -- which has five full-time officers -- worked the case along with Colorado State Patrol, the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, Routt County Dispatch, the Routt County Sheriff's Office and the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
"Who knows where they would have went if we weren't able to arrest them," Steamboat police Capt. Joel Rae said. "It was huge that we were able to catch them leaving the scene."
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