Men arrested after car chase
April 4, 2006
Steamboat Springs — Two Denver teenagers were arrested Monday night on suspicion of breaking into and stealing items from four Steamboat Springs cars and leading police on a high-speed chase through Grand County.
Police Capt. Joel Rae said Joshua Thomas Weaver, 19, of Denver, and John Michael Purcell, 18, of Lakewood, were contacted by Steamboat police officers at about 10 p.m. Monday after officer Kevin Craig noticed that the 2006 Chevrolet Trail Blazer they were driving matched a description of a vehicle suspected in a car break-in reported earlier in the night.
Rae said the two men reportedly were loitering in the City Market parking lot, but sped off when Craig attempted to contact them. Craig checked the vehicle’s license plates and found that the vehicle was stolen March 24 from a Budget Rent-a-Car in Denver. Craig notified other officers about the situation.
Rae said officer Gerard Geis was the second officer to attempt to pull over the vehicle when he spotted it idling in the Super 8 Motel parking lot on Lincoln Avenue.
When Geis began approaching the car, Weaver, who was driving the car, put it in reverse and attempted to run Geis over and hit his patrol car, Rae said.
Geis followed the fleeing vehicle but ended the chase when the men reached the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.
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Colorado State Patrol troopers resumed the chase on U.S. Highway 40 near Chimney Rock.
State Patrol troopers followed the vehicle at speeds that approached 100 mph until the car was stopped at 10:45 p.m. east of Kremmling. Officers used tire deflator strips to deflate the car’s tires, Rae said.
The men passed through one set of strips, made it through Kremmling and were heading toward Hot Sulphur Springs on U.S. 40 before they hit a second set of strips and were stopped near Pierce.
Weaver and Purcell jumped out of the vehicle and attempted to flee from Kremmling Police Department officers, State Patrol troopers, Grand County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Steamboat officers before they were arrested and taken into custody.
Weaver was caught immediately, Rae said.
Purcell ran about 100 feet and hid behind some trailers before he was caught, Rae said.
After the men were in custody, officers linked the two men to four car break-ins that had been reported in Steamboat from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday. The men reportedly used rocks to break the cars’ windows.
Officers recovered most of the items that were stolen from the four cars, including a purse, a wallet, a duffel bag full of clothes, a driver’s license, $80 and other personal items.
On Tuesday, Rae said officers also found a stolen credit card taken several days ago in Frisco.
“This is really the tip of the iceberg. We suspect these individuals have been on a crime spree the last 10 or 12 days,” Rae said.
Weaver was arrested on suspicion of committing more than a dozen crimes, including misdemeanor theft, felony criminal mischief, first-degree trespass, first-degree assault and eluding. Weaver also is alleged to have given a false driver’s license.
Purcell was arrested on suspicion of committing felony trespass, theft and criminal mischief.
Weaver and Purcell appeared in Routt County Court on Tuesday for their advisements. Judge James Garrecht set Weaver’s bond at $20,000 and Purcell’s at $10,000. Neither man had posted bond from the Routt County Jail as of late Tuesday afternoon. The men are scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. today.