LONE TREE, Colo. — A man suspected of stealing an SUV with a 4-year-old boy inside, carjacking two other vehicles and seriously injuring a state trooper was arrested Wednesday after police tracked him, and at times chased him, around the Denver area during morning rush hour.
Ryan Stone, a 29-year-old wanted in a drug case, was captured after causing a multiple-car crash at an intersection in a silver sedan he had just taken. He ran off, crossing the parking lot of a business and running so wildly he lost his jacket. He struggled to jump a fence, and then seemed to give up, lying face-down in the snow, wearing jeans and a white tank top. Three police officers reached him, pinning him to the ground.
A state trooper was injured after being struck by Stone while putting down stop sticks in a failed effort to stop him. It's not clear if Stone was just trying to avoid the stop sticks when he struck the trooper or if he was deliberately trying to hit the trooper.
No one else, including the boy, was injured during the ordeal, televised live during the morning rush hour. Stone covered about 75 miles before being caught, avoiding congestion closer to downtown.
"This is a strange and crazy morning in Colorado," Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver said.
Stone was taken to a hospital, in part to see whether he was high or drunk. Authorities said it appeared at one point he threw something from one of the cars. Police were searching to see if they can find a weapon he may have had.
Longmont Police Department spokesman Jeff Satur said a warrant had been issued for Stone after he failed to appear in court March 4 on a "dangerous drug" charge. Stone was with his girlfriend when she was stopped in an apparently stolen car in Longmont Tuesday night, he said. Stone was not picked up then, but it's not clear why.
Stone was "definitely running like a person who did not want to go back to jail," Satur said.
Police said Stone first stole a sport utility vehicle with the child inside at a gas station in Longmont, north of Denver. Satur said his mother left the car with the boy in it, and the suspect jumped into the vehicle and sped south on Interstate 70, where a State Patrol officer spotted it. Police said the boy wasn't harmed during the chase.
Soon after the SUV was taken, television helicopters spotted a speeding vehicle matching that description. After about a half hour, Stone stopped and carjacked a minivan and took off in it the wrong direction on the highway.
Later, after apparently losing a tire on the minivan, he sideswiped another vehicle and threw the driver out of the car. Soon after, he was caught after running from the crash in the intersection.
For most of the time, police appeared to hang back, even after the suspect abandoned the SUV stolen with the boy in it.
Colorado State Patrol spokesman Nate Reid said the highway patrol became involved about 7:12 a.m., then held back when the suspect was in congested areas, took up the chase again in Adams County, then held back again for safety reasons just before the suspect was caught. Reid could not say how many of his officers were involved.