Apr 12, 2013 6:47 PM by JD Downing

CSP involved in multi-county pursuit in Southern Colorado

The Colorado State Patrol and at least six other law enforcement agencies were involved in a pursuit crossing multiple counties that ended in the arrest of three parties without injury to anyone involved. At approximately 7:40 AM a CSP Trooper stopped a 1997 Toyota Camry from New Mexico on Interstate 25 (northbound) one mile south of Walsenburg for speeding. During the contact the driver, later identified as Justin Dale Darnell, 28, put the vehicle into gear and sped off, exiting to Highway 10 in Huerfano County. Speeds exceeded 110 MPH and crossed into the opposite lane of traffic in a very low-populated and low-traveled area. Two passengers, one male, one female, were also in the vehicle. As the pursuit continued into Otero and Pueblo Counties the passengers exited the vehicle and were taken into custody. Both passengers advised Darnell would shoot it out with police and "not be taken alive." The CSP Airborne Unit was called from Centennial to assist.

Darnell managed to avoid stop-sticks while traveling off the roadway; he hit multiple fences multiple times and traveled into fields. Despite giving a false name Darnells real identity was discovered during the pursuit. He had a valid warrant for his arrest based on previous drunk driving charges; his driver's license is also revoked. Ground units lost visual of the vehicle before it was spotted by the air unit hiding under some trees near Highway 350 in Las Animas County. Due to the dense terrain, ground units, including the local CSP K9 unit, needed to approach the vehicle on foot. Darnell did not comply with verbal orders; tasers were subsequently deployed and Darnell was taken into custody without further incident at approximately 10:10 AM.

Further investigation into the event found that Darnell had taken the vehicle without permission from relatives but it was not reported as stolen. He was medically cleared following the deployment of the taser. In addition to the warrant Darnell has been charged with the following:

-Felony Eluding (Felony 5)
-Criminal Impersonation (Felony 6)
-Reckless Endangerment (Misdemeanor 3)
-Reckless Driving (Misdemeanor Traffic 2)
-Driving Under Restraint, previous alcohol offense (Misdemeanor)
-Speeding 10-19 over (Traffic Infraction A)

The female passenger, identified as Britini Chavez, 30, was found to have a non-extraditable warrant for her arrest in New Mexico for contempt of court. She and the male passenger, Draper Chavez, 35, were detained but subsequently released from custody without charges.


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