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2 bystanders killed, suspect seriously injured in crash during Brighton police chase

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 18:33:47-04

BRIGHTON, Colo. — Two bystanders were killed, and the suspect seriously injured following a crash during a police chase in Brighton Tuesday morning.

A woman in vehicle and a male pedestrian were killed after two separate crashes caused by the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Nicholas Villarini, who was running from police in a stolen car, according to the Brighton Police Department.

The pursuit began around 11:30 a.m. after officers responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle in the area of Gaviota and Goldfinch streets.

When officers arrived, Villarini took off in a vehicle that police said was stolen. A woman was inside the vehicle with Villarini, police said.

Police pursued the suspect to Bridge and Mt. Bierstadt streets, where they said Villarini ran a stop sign and struck another car. A woman in the passenger seat of that vehicle was ejected, transported to the hospital and later died, police said. On Thursday, the Office of the Coroner of Adams and Broomfield counties identified her as 21-year-old Dulce Castro Perez of Hudson.

The department said the stolen car continued on Mt. Bierstadt Street, lost control and struck a male pedestrian. The man was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. He's been identified as 25-year-old Gustavo Mosqueda Ortega of Montrose, according to the coroner on Thursday.

Villarini was taken into custody and is being treated for serious injuries, police said. The female passenger in the stolen vehicle was also injured.

“Today has been a very difficult day for our community. Loss of life is never easy. In this case, the loss of people who were going about their everyday lives,” said Chief Paul Southard in a statement. “Our hearts are heavy for the families and friends of both individuals whose lives were tragically cut short, as well as the other victims of the crash.”

Following protocol, the officers involved in the crash will be placed on paid administrative leave. The 17th Judicial District Critical Incident Investigation Team and the North Metro Accident Investigation Team will be investigating the circumstances surrounding the pursuit and subsequent crash.