LONGMONT, CO - A dramatic car chase that crisscrossed the Denver area during the Wednesday morning commute started when a man stole an SUV with a 4-year-old boy inside and ended after he carjacked two other vehicles and struck a state trooper.
Ryan Stone, a 28-year-old wanted in a drug case, covered about 75 miles before he caused a multi-vehicle crash at an intersection in Lone Tree, south of Denver. He then ran across a parking lot before appearing to give up, lying face-down in the snow as officers approached and pinned him to the ground.
Police say the boy was found unharmed after Stone abandoned the SUV.
Also during the chase, Stone struck a state trooper who was putting down stop sticks in a failed effort to capture him, authorities said. It's unclear if Stone was trying to avoid the stop sticks when he hit the trooper, or if he deliberately ran over him. The trooper was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
No one else was injured during the ordeal, which was televised live.
"This is a strange and crazy morning in Colorado," Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver said.
Stone, who has an extensive criminal record, was taken to a hospital, in part to see whether he was high or drunk, police said.
Authorities said it appeared at one point he threw something from one of the cars. Police were searching for any weapons he might have had.
Longmont Police Department spokesman Jeff Satur said a warrant was issued for Stone after he failed to appear in court March 4 on a "dangerous drug" charge. Stone's girlfriend was stopped in an apparently stolen car in Longmont on Tuesday night, but Stone wasn't with her, he said.
Stone was "definitely running like a person who did not want to go back to jail," Satur said.
The chase began when Stone stole the sport utility vehicle with the child inside at a gas station in Longmont, north of Denver, police said.
The boy's mother left the vehicle with the boy in it, and the suspect jumped inside and sped south on Interstate 70, where a State Patrol officer spotted it, Satur said.
Soon after the SUV was taken, television helicopters spotted a speeding vehicle matching its description. After about a half-hour, Stone stopped and carjacked a minivan and took off in 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 caused the crash at an intersection while driving a silver sedan.
Stone then ran off, crossing a parking lot and running so wildly he lost his jacket. He struggled to jump a fence before police caught him.
Police at times chased Stone but for the most part appeared to track him from a distance, even after he abandoned the SUV.
Colorado State Patrol spokesman Nate Reid said the highway patrol got involved at about 7:15 a.m. It held back when the suspect was in congested areas, took up the chase again in Adams County, and held back again for safety reasons just before the suspect was caught. Reid could not say how many of his officers were involved.