Fugitive caught after cop chase; woman injured

Daniel Higgins

A Grand Junction man was caught and arrested Thursday night after fleeing from law enforcement in a rental car Wednesday; a woman was ejected from the moving car during the evasion.

Daniel Patrick Higgins Jr., 31, of Grand Junction, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular eluding resulting in bodily injury and reckless driving, among other charges. He initially was being sought as a fugitive wanted on suspicion of felony contempt of court for possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and a bail-bond violation.

At about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies searching for Higgins spotted a blue Ford Explorer known to be Higgins’ in the parking lot of Safeway on Horizon Drive, according to an arrest affidavit. The Explorer was unoccupied, but a tan Ford Taurus belonging to Action Rent A Car was parked next to it and left the parking lot after a woman exited Safeway and got into it, according to the affidavit.

Deputies followed the Taurus as it headed north on Horizon Drive and then west on Crossroads Boulevard, and failed to signal a north turn onto 27 Road, according to the affidavit. The pursuing deputy initiated a traffic stop but the Taurus’ driver didn’t stop, accelerating away and then turning onto the no-outlet Skyline Drive, according to the affidavit.

The driver made an abrupt U-turn and accelerated through some bushes, according to the affidavit. The pursuing deputy reported recognizing the driver as Higgins, who fled the area. The deputy then noticed a woman standing in the bushes near where the car had just driven, according to the affidavit.

The woman appeared stunned and had grass and weeds all over her body and in her hair, according to the affidavit, and through a conversation with her, the deputy reported believing that she tried to exit the vehicle while the driver was turning it and centrifugal force ejected her out the passenger door. She was taken to the hospital via ambulance.

The woman initially denied the driver was Higgins, according to the affidavit, but later admitted it was.

The rental Taurus shortly was found abandoned near the T intersection of Skyline Drive, according to the affidavit, and it appeared Higgins had fled on foot, losing a shoe in the process. Deputies and K-9 officer Joker were unable to locate him.

A search of the car revealed various bags, one of which contained a glass pipe in which the residue field tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine, according to the affidavit, and another which contained almost 40 grams of a substance believed to be used as a cutting agent for illegal narcotics.

Members of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office’s Street Crime Team and the Western Colorado Drug Task Force found Higgins Thursday night at a home in the 600 block of 28 1/4 Road. He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute imitation controlled substance, vehicular eluding resulting in bodily injury, violation of bail-bond conditions, reckless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia and failing to signal a turn.


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