A multi-county, high-speed chase during which a man carjacked and crashed several vehicles through the morning rush hour ended March 12 with the suspect's arrest in northern Douglas County.
Ryan Stone, 28, is suspected of eluding authorities for almost two hours before crashing a stolen silver sedan at Lincoln Avenue and Peoria Street at about 8:15 a.m. Even after crashing, the suspect ran to the vehicle he'd hit and attempted to get into it before a Douglas County Sheriff's deputy blocked the second car with his patrol vehicle. Stone then fled on foot, nearly scaling a fence at the Windsor at Meridian apartments before officers apprehended him.
He was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center and evaluated. From there, officials said Stone would be transported to the Douglas County Jail.
A woman driving the silver car the suspect carjacked last on Belford Avenue west of Peoria also was uninjured after the suspect pulled her from the car and to the ground.
"You look at how many people he grabbed - this person had to be stopped," said Sheriff David Weaver, adding his "heart sunk" when he learned Stone was heading toward Douglas County.
It was not Stone’s first encounter with the law either. According to an afternoon news release from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Stone had multiple outstanding warrants in various jurisdictions. Charges listed in those warrants included burglary, auto theft, and failure to appear on drug-related charges.
Stone has addresses in Highlands Ranch, Centennial and Aurora, authorities say. His girlfriend, Julie Pawlak of Aurora, was arrested in a stolen vehicle in Longmont on the evening of March 11.
Trooper Nate Reid, public information officer for the Colorado State Patrol, said starting around 7:15 a.m. March 12, troopers in Longmont began following a stolen red SUV with a 4-year-old child inside. Supervisors called off the chase after eight miles for the safety of the toddler inside and the traveling public.
"You don't want to chase him, because at that point he's in desperation mode," Reid said. "He'll do anything to get away."
An Adams County Sheriff's deputy then pursued the vehicle, but backed off again when the SUV struck a gold minivan, which was then carjacked by the suspect. Once he abandoned the car with the child left safe inside, there was "one less thing to worry about," Reid said.
Stop sticks were deployed unsuccessfully on several occasions as Stone traveled south on Interstate 25. The suspect then went east on E-470, where he reached his highest speed and the pursuit was once again discontinued. He pulled a woman from a silver sedan and drove recklessly on the wrong side of the road before the final crash minutes later.
"We're lucky he chose E-470 to drive on. If this had gone to downtown Denver, can you imagine?" Reid said. "(E-470) is less traveled than I-25 in the middle of rush hour, so we're fortunate that more people didn't get injured or killed."
A Colorado State Patrol trooper was outside of his vehicle attempting to deploy stop sticks near E-470 and Chambers Road when Stone swerved and struck him. The trooper, who has not been identified, was taken to Littleton Adventist Hospital with serious injuries. He is awake and expected to survive, Reid said.
Despite a series of crashes, including one that ended the chase for good at Lincoln Avenue and Peoria Street, the trooper suffered the only known injuries.
Authorities said 850 KOA's news helicopter and its reporters' radio traffic were instrumental in helping them bring the incident to an end. Officers listened in on the traffic to help them keep track of Stone during his unpredictable path through metro-area highways and side streets.
Deputies said a search was under way in four different locations along Stone's flight path based on reports Stone may have thrown a weapon from one of the cars.
Law enforcement agencies were working to determine what charges Stone will face related to a crime spree that spanned a massive chunk of the metro area.
"This you do not see in Colorado," Weaver said. "This is a strange and crazy morning in Colorado."