Colorado

Dec 28, 2010 7:54 PM by Zach Thaxton

Driver with diabetic reaction leads 20-mile chase on I-25

A Colorado Springs man will face minor charges after leading police and state troopers on a 20-mile chase on I-25 in El Paso County, apparently oblivious of the pursuit due to a medical condition.

Jimmy Bowman, 59, was suffering a diabetic reaction when he was spotted swerving on I-25 near the Cimarron Street exit.  Colorado Springs Police engaged in a pursuit, but Bowman did not comply with officers' commands.  "Their motorcycle officer was actually alongside of him, motioning him several times to pull over," said Colorado State Patrol Sergeant Scott Hopham.  "He acknowledged that the officer was there, then just continuded driving."

The pursuit continued southbound on I-25 at approximately posted speed limits, however Bowman was said to be weaving across multiple lanes, nearly hitting other traffic and pursuing officers.  "It doesn't appear that he was aware that we were attempting to pull him over," Hopham said.  Spike strips were placed on the interstate near South Academy Boulevard and punctured the driver's-side front tire.  "He continued at about 70 miles per hour down the highway with a flat tire," said Hopham.

At around mile marker 119, south of Pikes Peak International Raceway, a state trooper utilized a TVI, or tactical vehicle intervention, as Bowman slowed to around 55 miles per hour behind a semi.  "It's a pit maneuver you see in NASCAR," Hopham said.  "We just spin the vehicle sideways."

When troopers made contact with Bowman, it became clear that he was suffering a diabetic reaction and was not operating with full mental capacity.  "Certainly somebody who has low blood sugar could get confused and can become unable to respond to their environment appropriately," said Dr. Peter Walsh, Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs.  Hopham said Bowman's reaction was severe.  "I know that he was given a shot on-scene to get his glucose level back up," Hopham said.

Southbound I-25 was closed for about 15 minutes while officers and troopers moved Bowman's black Cadillac Escalade onto the right shoulder.  Bowman was taken to Penrose Hospital for treatment of his diabetic reaction but was otherwise uninjured.  He faces charges of careless driving and a misdemeanor charge of eluding police.  Colorado Springs Police spokesman Sergeant Darrin Abbink said Bowman should have noted the onset of symptoms of a diabetic reaction and avoided operating a moving vehicle.  Hopham said that it never appeared Bowman was intentionally eluding pursuing officers.  "He just didn't know that we wanted him to stop," he said.

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