Chase amazes officers
Fugitive reaches 120 mph in chase from Dinosaur to Maybell
November 26, 2001
By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
A fugitive from Utah blasted through the western half of Moffat County in a stolen car on Saturday at speeds in excess of 120 mph with the Colorado State Patrol and Moffat County Sheriff’s Office in hot pursuit.
Joshua Brent Christiansen, 21, stole a 1997 Toyota Camry in Murray, Utah, eluded Utah authorities and crossed into Dinosaur.
Uintah County alerted the Dinosaur Marshal, Robert Hamilton, that Christiansen and his passenger, Amy Pehrson, 23, were headed his way.
At approximately 2:00 p.m., Hamilton observed the Camry driven by Christiansen traveling 74 mph in a 40 mph zone. Hamilton attempted to pull over Christiansen, but he failed to yield to an emergency vehicle. At mile marker 10 on State Highway 40, at 2:04 p.m., Hamilton called in the pursuit to the dispatch center at the Moffat County Public Safety Center, reporting speeds in excess of 120 mph. The State Patrol and Sheriff’s Office responded.
“We had approximately 48 miles to prepare,” State Patrol Sergeant Hank Chase said. “This guy never slowed, going 120 all the way from Dinosaur. The officers in pursuit followed as best they could.” State Patrol Corporal Brian Bagley and Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Tim Jantz set a stop strip a set of chains studded with spikes at mile marker 58 on Hwy 40, just east of Maybell.
Christiansen swerved around the stop strip, almost hitting Bagley’s vehicle in the process.
Christiansen traveled through Maybell as Jantz and Bagley who was driving the State Patrol’s Camaro joined the chase. Christiansen eluded a second stop strip at mile marker 60, but he could not outrun Bagley in the Camaro.
At mile marker 62, near the intersection of Hwy 40 and County Road 57, Christiansen abruptly turned on his hazards and pulled over. He was arrested without incident at 2:41 p.m.
“It was amazing,” Chase said. “Moffat County doesn’t have a vehicle to keep up, Dinosaur doesn’t have a vehicle to keep up, but the Camarro could. It is a deterrent, and it was fast enough to keep up with him.
“This was a very successful chase, in that no one was hurt and nothing was damaged. As far as pursuits go, you couldn’t ask for anything better. I’ve been in a lot of chases in my career, and this went very smoothly. Dispatch was great, and everyone worked as a team. It was great, with a lot of cooperation between agencies.”
Christiansen is in the Moffat County jail, awaiting extradition to Utah.
He is charged with vehicular eluding, speeding and reckless driving, but once he is extradited to Utah, other charges connected to the stolen vehicle and the Utah portion of the chase will probably be added, Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said.
Pehrson was transported to The Memorial Hospital by the Maybell Ambulance with a broken pelvis, and is currently in stable condition.
The two fugitives had apparently jumped out of a third story room in a hotel in Murray to escape authorities, and Pehrson had broken her pelvis then, Chase said.
She has not been charged in connection with the incident.
One Dinosaur unit, two state patrol units and five Sheriff’s Office units participated in Saturday’s pursuit.
Several of the Sheriff’s Office units made sure that motorists on Hwy 40 were moved out of harms way, or stopped traffic at intersections to avoid more cars moving into the path of the pursuit.
“On the west side of Maybell, I had six to eight cars pulled over, clearing a path for the chase,” Sheriff’s Office Sergeant K.C. Hume said. “When they passed me, I pulled out behind them and followed Trooper Bagley until [Christiansen] pulled over.
“At the intersection with 318, we had stopped traffic so no cross traffic would move out onto 40,” he said. “Further east of where the arrest was eventually made, another Sheriff’s Office unit had stopped traffic on 40.
“I have to say the motorists on Highway 40 were very cooperative.”
The Utah State Patrol will arrive this week to process the stolen Camry and begin the extradition process for Christiansen, Chase said.