Crime, accidents up over weekend

Two rollovers, six thefts top list of activities

Homecoming weekend might have meant two days off for most residents and an extra half a day for teachers and students, but officers with the Craig Police Department found themselves flooded with calls beginning with four traffic accidents before and during the parade Friday along with several thefts from vehicles and a rolled-over stolen pickup truck.

The weekend ended with a bang four of them when a 1988 tan Chevy S10 pickup was stolen from a home on east Eighth Street. Before leaving with the vehicle, the thief managed to knock over the victim's fence and run into her house. It was reported the vehicle was heading south on Prairie Avenue, and officers had no trouble picking up the trail after the same vehicle hit the dumpster and damaged the dumpster shelter at the Country Club Heights townhouses on east Seventh Street. Later, a Seventh Street resident reported his horse trailer had been hit.

Officers finally found a 17-year-old, male juvenile trapped in the stolen pickup after he rolled it at mile marker 106 on Colorado Highway 13, north of Craig. The juvenile was transported to The Memorial Hospital where he was held for observation for eight hours before being released in good condition. According to hospital Administrator Randy Phelps, the juvenile was able to walk out.

The juvenile has been charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft, criminal trespassing, driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal possession and consumption of alcohol, driving without a valid driver's license, several counts of failure to report an accident involving damage, false reporting and striking an unattended vehicle. According to Lt. John Forgay, public information office for the Craig Police Department, several other charges were also added from those listed.

The juvenile was also charged with second-degree aggravated assault on a police officer after spitting blood on the responding officers.

The juvenile was living in Craig after recently moving here from California. He is being held in the Moffat County Youth Care Center.

About noon on Friday, a little more than an hour before the annual Homecoming Parade was set to begin, Matt Johnston, 17, son of City Council member Bill Johnston was involved in a rollover accident.

Johnston was rounding the corner at Jeffcoat and Haughey streets when he veered off the road onto the shoulder. His truck rolled and came to rest against a speed limit sign which prevented him from rolling further.

Johnston was cited for careless driving. Johnston was not hurt in the accident. His truck was taken to Yampa Valley Auto Shop where it was reported broken into Sunday. More than $1,000 in stereo equipment was stolen.

Three other accidents were reported Friday. All were minor accidents and one happened when the Future Farmers of America homecoming float rear-ended a van before the parade began. According to the police report, the float was following the van and when the van stopped, the driver of the float couldn't. It was estimated there was less than $1,000 damage to the float and more than $1,000 damage to the van.

No one was injured in any of the accidents.

Officers also had their hands full trying to stop teen-agers who were seen throwing eggs at parade floats.

Theft from vehicles was also a prevalent call over the weekend. More than $5,325 in damage and stolen property was reported from six different incidents. The most stolen in a single incident was an estimated $1,220. Car stereos, ammunition and rifles were among the most popular things stolen.

According to Forgay, the department isn't sure if the incidents are connected.

"We don't have any common thread now other than they all happened," he said.

Forgay reminds hunters to not leave valuable items, including guns and camping equipment, in vehicles even if the vehicles are locked. He said such temptation only paves the way for what he calls "opportunistic thieves."

"We go through this every year," he said.

He urges hunters to take all their gear inside for the night so it remains under constant supervision.

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