Joyride in stolen vehicle ends in crash; driver on the run
Night after night, a driver in a stolen pickup has gone cruising around Colorado Springs, trying to bait officers into a high-speed chase.
Early Tuesday night, the suspect finally got his brush with law enforcement when he flipped the vehicle in someone's yard.
A patrol officer found the overturned vehicle lying just feet from a home.
"He came to investigate and a male party crawled out from the driver's seat and took off running," said Sgt, Troy Bauer with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Neighbor Monet Brunson said she heard the screeching tires as the truck skidded on the pavement.
"It's approximately 2 a.m. and I heard -- it sounded like somebody had slammed on the brakes and had slid on the pavement," she said.
"Most likely, the way they've been driving the last few nights, it seems they're not experienced drivers, and it looks like they hit the curb, comes off the curb, hits this light pole and rolls," Bauer said.
Bauer said officers were not surprised the joyride ended in a crash.
"When they're trying to bait you into a high-speed pursuit like that, they're going to drive crazy. Obviously, as you see here, they're not going to control their vehicle when we're not chasing them, so if we're chasing them they're not going to control their vehicle, and it's only going to come to a stop when they hit something like this or hit a citizen," Bauer said.
"I was shocked ... [my husband] was getting ready for work and I told him, I said, 'Honey, you're not going to believe this ... there's a bunch of police cars out there, there's a car flipped over in our neighbor's yard.' He thought I was kidding," Brunson said.
Officers and police dogs searched the area of Union Boulevard and Palmer Park Boulevard, where the crash happened, but were unable to find the driver. Bauer said it wasn't just because the driver faces charges, but also because they were worried he was injured.
"We want to make sure they're taken care of and not hurt out there."
Bauer said the truck was seen dropping off a passenger on the south end of town a short time before crashing. Officers have contacted the passenger and are trying to sort out whether he knew the truck was stolen when he got a ride. The passenger is under 18, and Bauer said police suspect the driver may be as well.
The driver faces potential charges of motor vehicle theft and reckless driving. He's been described as small -- between 5 feet and 5-foot-2 -- and was wearing a gray hoodie and black jeans.
The vehicle was likely stolen within the last week, according to Bauer. He suspects the driver may have been puffing because the keys were in the truck when it was stolen.
"The car's warming up, they go back inside, these guys are walking to school or leaving their house ... they jump in and drive off. This is the result.
"It's too easy. It's just a crime of opportunity."