FORT MORGAN, Colo. — Two men were arrested Monday morning after a chase that reached up to 100 mph with law enforcement ended in an airborne crash, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said.
The sheriff’s office said a Ford Ranger pickup truck was stolen from an Xcel Energy facility in Sterling early Monday morning.
GPS on the truck found that it was in the teacher parking lot of Beaver Valley Elementary School on the west side of Brush about 6:45 a.m.
As a Brush police officer and Morgan County undersheriff approached the truck, the driver, later identified as 18-year-old Joshua Munoz of Greeley, took off, driving across the grass and sidewalks before traveling southbound on Glacier Street.
The truck eventually got on Highway 34 and reached speeds of about 100 mph while being pursued by law enforcement, the sheriff’s office said.
An unknown truck driver then parked his semitruck across the highway in an attempt to block the pickup, but Munoz turned into a farm field before continuing westbound on Highway 34, the sheriff’s office said.
The chase was going to be terminated, but Fort Morgan police officers blocked traffic and attempted to deploy stop sticks. The pickup driver was able to avoid them, the sheriff’s office said.
The pickup truck then turned into the blocked-off portion of Barlow Road in Fort Morgan, driving around construction equipment that was blocking the road.
Construction workers had to run out of the way from the speeding pickup truck before it ran a red light at Barlow Road and East Riverview Avenue at 80 mph, the sheriff’s office said.
As Munoz tried to drive the pickup truck onto westbound Interstate 76, he lost control. The pickup truck went airborne before hitting a dirt bank and partially rolling over.
The sheriff’s office said Munoz crawled out the back window and ran away with a sheriff’s deputy chasing him into a Comfort Inn. Munoz ran down a hallway and out the west end of the hotel, taking off his clothes as he ran.
Munoz ran around to the north side of a nearby Rodeway Inn and into a building when Fort Morgan police officers caught him and placed him under arrest.
A passenger in the pickup truck, 20-year-old Tello Barragan-Olivarria, was also arrested. He stayed in the pickup truck after it crashed, the sheriff’s office said.
Munoz was taken to Colorado Plains Medical Center to be treated for injuries. Barragan-Olivarria was not injured, the sheriff’s office said.
Both men were booked into the Morgan County Jail on a several variety charges, including auto theft, eluding and traffic charges.