Man facing 23 charges in Denver tractor chase, police release timeline of events

DENVER -- The man suspected of driving a stolen tractor through central Denver on July 20 is facing 23 charges, the Denver District Attorney's Office said Friday. Additionally, a newly released timeline reveals the suspect is believed to have stolen a total of three vehicles the day of the incident.

Thomas Busch, 37, is accused of stealing a tractor from a Denver Water facility before leading police on a chase from the City Park are to Lower Downtown. His 23 counts are listed below:

  • Menacing (1 count)
  • Aggravated motor vehicle theft (3 counts)
  • Failure to report and accident or return to the scene (3 counts)
  • Careless driving (4 counts)
  • Vehicular assault (1 count)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (1 count)
  • Second-degree criminal trespass (3 counts)
  • Criminal mischief (3 counts)
  • Criminal attempt to commit aggravated motor vehicle theft (1 count)
  • Vehicular eluding (1 count)
  • Resisting arrest (1 count)
  • Cruelty to a certified police working dog (1 count)

Charges were filed Thursday, according to the DA's office.

The pursuit ended when a police officer rammed the tractor with their vehicle near 15th and Market Streets.

"The defendant was allegedly combative and fought officers as they attempted to arrest him, requiring the use of a K-9 service dog to subdue him," the DA's office said. The Denver Police Department said that Busch bit and choked the dog.

According to a timeline from DPD released Friday, Busch stole a Jeep earlier on July 20 near Colfax Avenue and Kipling Street in Lakewood at 5:20 p.m. About 20 minutes later, he ditched that vehicle and stole a tow truck. He then hit a Subaru on the 700 block of Water Street in Denver before leaving the scene.

Just three minutes after the hit-and-run, at 5:43 p.m., Busch is accused of going the wrong way on Interstate 25 ear Mulberry Place before crashing head-on into a vehicle, resulting in serious bodily injury. He allegedly fled that scene on foot.

Between 6:45 p.m. and 7 p.m., Busch entered the Denver Water facility in the Lincoln Park area and stole the tractor with a lawn mowing deck attached, according to DPD. The equipment is estimated to cost at least $70,000.

Around 8:18 p.m., Busch is accused of illegally entering a construction site near 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, causing damage and attempting to steal a 20-ton front loader valued at more than $250,000.

About seven minutes later, Busch is suspected of another hit-and-run with a vehicle near 11th Avenue and Colorado. Just three minutes after that, authorities believe he rammed a fence at 23rd Avenue and Colorado on the east side of City Park. He entered the golf course construction project and tried to steal a construction truck. He also broke into a construction trailer before getting back into the Denver Water tractor once officers arrived at the scene.

Busch is accused of leaving City Park with officers in pursuit. He drove through a fence at Manual High School and continued his way toward the downtown area before the pursuit ended with the aforementioned collision near 15th and Market.

Busch is scheduled to appear in court on July 30.

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