Suspect accused of dragging officer dies after being found unresponsive in jail cell

(Photo: Weld County Sheriff's Office)

GREELEY, Colo. — A man suspected of dragging a Firestone police officer in a stolen vehicle, then leading a chase, was found dead in his cell on Thursday, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office said.

Aaron Bloedel, 42, had been in the Weld County Jail since Saturday’s chase ended in Boulder.

About 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Bloedel was found unresponsive inside his locked cell, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said. He had been alone in the cell and was the only person inside when he was found.

Deputies began administering CPR and Bloedel was transported to North Colorado Medical Center where he was pronounced dead about 2:40 p.m. by emergency room staff.

Bloedel was facing charges for vehicular assault, first-degree assault on a peace officer, felony eluding, aggravated motor vehicle theft, felony menacing, forgery and several misdemeanors, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police said Bloedel and 29-year-old Steven Nelson were sitting in a vehicle near the 1500 block of Weld County Road 20.5 on Saturday when Firestone police officer Dan Wittler approached because it had been called in as suspicious.

As Wittler approached, Bloedel began to pull away, according to the affidavit. Wittler placed his hand inside the vehicle and told Bloedel to stop, but the suspect didn’t and the officer was dragged about 15 feet.

Wittler suffered minor injuries but returned to his vehicle and began to give chase.

According to the affidavit, Bloedel nearly hit a Longmont police officer, prompting Wittler to stop chasing. Longmont police then pursued Bloedel toward Boulder, where police and sheriff’s deputies also gave chase.

Bloedel and Nelson then fled on foot before being caught a short time later. Nelson was being held on multiple forgery-related felonies, police said.

 

The Weld County 19th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team has been assigned to investigate Bloedel’s death as is the Weld County Coroner’s Office.