Officer stops alleged car thief from crashing into homeless community

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Police stopped a man from crashing into a homeless community as he tried to escape officers early Monday morning.

An officer forced the suspect into a group of large landscaping rocks to keep him from running into the homeless camp.

"As he's trying to elude officers, he comes across the field, north of here off Academy and Murray, and comes along the side of this ditch along one of the maintenance roads, and he's heading right towards the bridge here that runs under Academy Boulevard and there is a very large transient camp down there," said Sgt. Troy Bauer with the Colorado Springs Police Department. "One of our officers hits his stolen car from behind, forcing him into some rocks."

The wild chase began just after midnight with a phone call. A man had spotted his stolen car at a shopping center off Hancock Expressway and South Academy Boulevard. The car had been stolen a few days earlier by a man with a gun.

When the suspect saw police pull up, he used the victim's own car to first ram the vehicle the victim was in, then a police car. He kept driving -- but because of the damage he caused to the car, wasn't able to go any faster than 20 mph.

The low-speed chase -- the suspect eventually slowed to 10 mph -- crawled towards South Murray, where the suspect hopped off the road and crossed over a field, bike path and down into a ditch -- heading straight towards the homeless camp. Only 11 News was there to catch the aftermath.

"Concerned the suspect would drive the vehicle into the transient camp and seriously injure or kill someone Officer Evenson used his cruiser to strike the back end of the stolen vehicle changing the vehicle’s path and causing it to become lodged on a group of large landscaping rocks which stopped the vehicle," the police blotter stated.

Afterwards, police arrested the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Markus Whaley. In addition to charges connected to the incident, Whaley was wanted on a parole violation.

Police say one officer was hurt in the incident, but only suffered minor injuries.