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Fort Morgan robbery ends with high-speed chase, fiery crash on I-76

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FORT MORGAN, Colo. -- A robbery in Fort Morgan ended with a high-speed chase and a fiery crash on Interstate 76 on Sunday night, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office said.

It started when an off-duty sheriff's deputy tried to stop a man from taking an armload of power tools from Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply in Fort Morgan just before 6 p.m.

The suspect took off in a Ford pickup as the deputy followed him. The suspect parked a short distance away and when the deputy parked behind him to block him from leaving, the suspect backed into the deputy's personal vehicle and drove away.

Colorado State Patrol troopers saw the suspect get onto westbound Interstate 76, but after seeing them, he drove across the median and into the eastbound lanes, driving up to 130 mph against traffic, the sheriff's office said.

Troopers followed the suspect and said he drove off the south side of the eastbound lane near the railroad tracks, the sheriff's office said.

The suspect got off the interstate at Wiggins and a sheriff's deputy chased him on Central Avenue before the suspect got back on I-76 in the eastbound lanes and again driving against traffic.

A deputy had an opportunity to try to knock the pickup off the road but could not do so without risking himself and oncoming traffic, the sheriff's office said. Soon after, the suspect slammed head-on into an oncoming vehicle at a high rate of speed.

A woman passenger in the vehicle had to be cut out of the vehicle by firefighters and was flown to Medical Center of the Rockies with serious injuries. The driver was able to get out of the vehicle on his own and was taken to North Colorado Medical Center with unknown injuries.

The suspect's pickup flipped several yards off the interstate and caught fire. He was unconscious and trapped in the burning vehicle before a deputy pulled him out.

Deputies, a trooper and an officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife used fire extinguishers to knock down the fire in the truck and on nearby grass.

The suspect suffered serious burns over about half his body as well as serious trauma from the impact of the crash. He was flown to University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora in critical condition.

The suspect has not been identified. The sheriff's office said if he survives, he will be face a variety of charges, including attempted murder by extreme indifference.

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