Chase suspect in custody

Man who fled YVMC held in Greeley on other charges

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— A man who led the Colorado State Patrol on a high-speed chase across Routt County in November is now in custody in Greeley.

The man eluded arrest last year by giving local law enforcement a false identity and fleeing Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he was receiving treatment for minor injuries received after crashing a stolen vehicle near Routt County Road 14.

James Nicholson, 38, was arrested Dec. 15 by the Greeley Police Department. Routt County authorities received notice of his arrest last week, State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said.

Nicholson remained in custody at the Weld County Jail as of Tuesday afternoon, on charges including two counts of violating a protection order, two counts of theft, two counts of criminal escape, harassment, menacing and eluding, according to jail officials.

In November 2007, Nicholson led former State Patrol Trooper Rick Kaspar on a high-speed chase after Kaspar attempted to pull him over while ascending Rabbit Ears Pass on U.S. Highway 40. Nicholson made a U-turn in a stolen Lincoln sedan, sped west down the pass and reached speeds of up to 120 mph on Colorado Highway 131 and C.R. 14, according to the State Patrol.

Nicholson lost control of the car while attempting a sharp turn from C.R. 14 onto C.R. 14C. The car came to rest upside-down in a field adjacent to the road.

Nicholson sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported via ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he eluded arrest by walking out of the hospital in his nightgown at 3 a.m. the next day. Law enforcement was unaware that he had given a false identity, his brother's, until after the escape.

In connection with the Nov. 2 incident in Routt County, Nicholson faces felony charges of vehicular eluding, criminal impersonation and second-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, and misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, reckless driving, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Nicholson likely will not appear in Routt County Court until his Weld County charges have been resolved, Elliott said.

"I'd imagine he's not going to be out of jail for a long time," Elliott said.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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