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Cortez driver leads officers on chase in McElmo Canyon

Officers were concerned about children in vehicle

A driver led law enforcement officers on a chase down Montezuma County Road G late Friday afternoon before being apprehended about four miles from the Utah state line.

The chase began near Battle Rock School about 4:15 p.m. Friday after a caller reported suspicious behavior from a driver in a white Ford minivan, Montezuma County Undersheriff Jim Kingery said at the scene.

Law enforcement officers were told there were a man, woman, boy and girl in the vehicle.

“Our main concern was the safety of the children,” Montezuma County Sgt. John Hancock said.

Kingery and Hancock did not provide details about the identity of the driver or passengers.

The driver headed west from Battle Rock but was eluding officers and turned around, heading east toward Cortez, Hancock said. The driver turned around again and began heading west and was apprehended several miles west of Battle Rock, near the state line. The driver narrowly avoided a collision with another car when he performed a U-turn on the road, Hancock said.

Kingery said officers were able to stop the driver and box in the vehicle to prevent further movement. Officers contacted the driver, who was placed in custody after contacting family members to pick up the children, he said.

Initially, Cortez police, sheriff’s deputies and the Colorado State Patrol were involved in the pursuit. Cortez police were called off the pursuit, and about a half-dozen state patrol and sheriff’s officers were at the scene of the arrest. A Cortez Fire truck and Southwest Memorial Hospital ambulance also responded.

A sheriff’s patrol vehicle sustained minor damage during the chase, Kingery said.


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