Craig man leads officers on chase past police headquarters
Police say a Craig man whose license was revoked led them on a high-speed chase and tried to hide in a local trailer park before getting a trip to the Moffat County Jail.
Richard James Wieland, 30, was arrested Thursday, May 30 on felony charges of first-degree criminal trespass, possession of weapons by a previous offender, misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving vehicle while license under restraint, and traffic offenses of limitations on overtaking on the left, registration upon transfer, and traffic control signals.
According to an arrest affidavit compiled by Officer Izauro Gonzalez, a Craig officer spotted Wieland, whom he recognized from prior law enforcement contacts as having a revoked license.
When the officer made a U-turn to catch up to the gold sedan Wieland was driving, the affidavit said Wieland stepped on the gas.
“I continued to observe the vehicle being operated at that fast speed until it approached a red traffic signal at Victory Way (West U.S. Highway 40),” the affidavit said. “The vehicle slowed, but did not appear to stop for the signal and continued south onto Mack Lane while the traffic light continued to be red.”
After the gold sedan ran the red light, the officer decided not to pursue the suspect — instead relaying the sedan’s location to other officers who were responding to the area.
“The reason I decided not to pursue was for officer and public safety as I felt it would be more dangerous,” the affidavit said.
Moments later, another Craig officer had responded to the area and caught up to Wieland near the intersection of First and Ranney streets.
“I immediately turned around in my marked Craig Police Department patrol vehicle to attempt to initiate a traffic stop on the gold sedan that Richard was driving,” the affidavit said. “Richard immediately started driving at high rate of speed giving me no chance to catch up to him.”
As he sped past police headquarters at the Public Safety Center, police said Richard crossed the double yellow lines to pass a large truck.
“Richard went into the east bound lane and passed a white box truck in the double yellow marked zone,” the affidavit said. “Richard then continued and turned north into the Cedar Mountain trailer park.”
But Wieland was too far ahead of police for them to see exactly which way he went.
“By the time I got into the Cedar Mountain trailer park, I had completely lost sight of Richard and the golden sedan,” the affidavit said.
But it wasn’t long before residents in the trailer park flagged police down and pointed out where Wieland was hiding. The affidavit said Wieland parked his gold sedan and entered a nearby trailer home, but eventually came out once police made it clear they knew he was inside.
Police later interviewed the trailer home owners, who weren’t OK with Wieland coming inside.
When police asked Wieland why he ran, he told them it was because he didn’t want to go to jail.
Police also secured a search warrant for the vehicle Wieland was allegedly driving and found several knives Wieland was not allowed to possess due to his prior criminal history.
Wieland was booked into the Moffat County Jail May 30 and appeared before Judge Sandra Gardner’s Moffat County Court No. 2 and was issued a $2,500 cash or surety bond. According to jail staff with the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Wieland was still in custody as of Friday afternoon. Wieland is scheduled to appear before Judge Gardner at 11 a.m. June 4.
The 11-year-old survivor of a back-road Rifle rollover crash that killed two people in December 2017 testified that the alleged driver had been drinking at some point before the wreck.