Police: Suspect in deadly crash was upset and intentionally grabbed the wheel

Posted at 4:05 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 18:05:01-04

Following the arrest of a man accused of intentionally causing a deadly crash on Powers Blvd, the coroner’s office has identified the victim as 77-year-old Paul Gannarelli of Colorado Springs.

Nathaniel Patric Stager was taken into custody by the Castle Rock Police Department Monday. This was after police received a tip from a concerned person which led to his arrest and the recovery of a stolen Chevy Suburban.

News 5 received the arrest affidavit for Stager releasing the details of what led up to the deadly crash. 

Stager was reportedly the passenger in a red Jeep Cherokee when he reportedly took control of the wheel and forced the car into the northbound lanes of N Powers Blvd Sunday. A female driver, who has yet to be identified, told officers in an interview after the crash that Stager intentionally took control of the car and caused the deadly crash.

According to the arrest affidavit, the driver told a CSPD detective that she kissed Stager but denied being in a relationship with him. The two were traveling to the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center to visit her incarcerated boyfriend. The affidavit also revealed previous physical altercations between Stager and the driver showed he was jealous she was going to the CJC. 

Colorado Springs Police officers responded to reports of a crash with injuries on N Powers Blvd, north of E Platte Ave just before 12:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Officers discovered three cars were involved in the crash, where witnesses on scene said the crash was caused by a man in a red Jeep Cherokee, later identified as Stager. A silver Dodge Neon was struck first, where the driver was found dead in the front of the car.

First responders assessed the elderly male driver, later identified as 7Gannarelli, and found no signs of life.

The Jeep continued south in the northbound lanes of N Powers Blvd and hit a white Pontiac Montana causing the van to spin out of control and rollover before coming to a stop. Both occupants of the car were transported to a local hospital and released with no significant injuries. 

The Jeep then finally came to a rest, where witnesses said Stager was seen putting things into a bag and running across N Powers Blvd towards Harding’s Tree Nursery. 

According to the affidavit, witnesses provided officers with a photo of Stager fleeing the scene carrying a black bag. CSPD and El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies recovered the black bag with a handgun in it.

Witnesses on the scene did confirm the bag was the same bag Stager was seen fleeing with. While on scene, deputies received reports of a stolen 1990 Chevy Surburban from the parking area at the nursery. 

The car keys and a cell phone were in the stolen car at the time. The phone was described as a gold LG G5 that was connected to a phone number that was reportedly contacting the Jeep driver moments after the crash was reported.

Police were able to confirm the stolen phone was the phone number calling the Jeep driver, according to the affidavit.

The Jeep driver was transported to a local hospital with bleeding lacerations to her face and a right ankle sprain. She was treated and released with no serious injuries.