Mesa teen arrested after I-70 chase

A Mesa County 16-year-old was arrested Saturday night in Garfield County after leading police on a chase that involved a stolen vehicle and forced the shutdown of Interstate 70.

Parachute police Chief Cary Parmenter said the vehicle was stolen in Mesa County, possibly from a ranch in the Fruita area.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said the vehicle was reported to be a white truck with a flatbed and a welder on the back, and parts fell from the back of it as it traveled erratically down the highway.

Parmenter said dispatchers received numerous calls from motorists reporting the falling items and erratic driving, which also included swerving, going onto the road shoulder and traveling at highly varying speeds.

A Parachute officer spotted the vehicle as it arrived there and tried unsuccessfully to pull it over. It continued on at speeds ranging from 45 mph to 85 mph, and Parmenter said at one point the driver tried to ram a cop car as it tried to pass him.

Authorities were able to deploy spike sticks in the Silt area, and the vehicle came to a stop on I-70 in South Canyon west of Glenwood Springs, with its rear tires deflated.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said the driver at first hesitated to leave the vehicle, but complied after being told multiple times to do so and was cooperative with deputies on the scene. Emergency medical workers were summoned to check on him.

Parmenter said the teen was arrested around 9:30 p.m.

Authorities closed both east- and westbound I-70 during the chase, and for cleanup of any debris in the eastbound lanes.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of offenses including aggravated motor vehicle theft, attempted vehicular assault, vehicular eluding and reckless driving.

Parmenter said the driver doesn’t have a license. He was taken to the Grand Mesa Youth Services Center in Grand Junction. Parmenter declined to release his name.


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