Coffee shop antics lead to chase, arrest
A motorist bolted from police Tuesday afternoon after reportedly displaying “freaky and perverted” behavior toward an employee of the Xpresso drive-thru coffee shop in Glenwood Springs.
The man was nabbed following a 10-mile chase on Highway 82 that finally ended when he crashed his car into another vehicle in Carbondale.
Police received a call from an employee of the coffee shop, located at 1512 Grand Ave., around 1:30 p.m. to report that a man was acting strangely. When officers showed up at the coffee shop and tried to talk to the man, he reportedly sped away in a black Toyota Corolla.
“He came through the drive-through,” recounted a female Xpresso employee who asked not to be identified. “Then he came through again and freaked me out and he was pretty perverted.”
After driving through for the second time, she said, he parked near the drive-through and just stared at her.
“I think he was on something; he was shaking dramatically. He was freaky,” the employee said.
Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson said the man, later identified as Phoenix Anderson, 37, of Glenwood Springs, acknowledged the officers’ presence, then drove away.
“The young lady who called it in said he was behaving kind of oddly,” Wilson said. “Officers went in and the guy ran.”
Anderson headed south on Grand Avenue to 27th Street, where he headed back toward Highway 82. Once on 82, he kept going, with police trailing close behind.
Although the chase began with just Glenwood Springs police in pursuit, they were soon joined by Garfield County sheriff’s deputies and Colorado State Patrol troopers.
In all, the chase lasted around 10 minutes, spanning about 10 miles. Wilson said the suspect never went excessively fast, averaging about 65 mph through the entire chase.
“It was a really odd chase,” Wilson said, adding that it reminded him of a slow chase on Highway 82 some years ago where the suspect drove about 35 mph the whole time.
“It wasn’t what I’d call a high-speed pursuit,” he said.
As they headed toward the intersection of highways 82 and 133, Carbondale police cleared a lane for Anderson on the highway so he could pass through without causing a wreck, but instead of using that lane, he slowed down, rear-ended a Honda Accord and came to a halt.
The other driver said he wasn’t injured and his car wasn’t visibly damaged, and he left the scene.
At that point, several officers ran toward the car with their guns drawn, ordering Anderson to get out of his car.
“He said, `I’m not getting out,'” Wilson said.
At that point, one of the officers smashed the passenger-side window with a metal flashlight and dragged Anderson out onto the street, placing him flat on the roadway.
Anderson was yelling at police during the arrest, saying they “owed him a new car.”
Once Anderson was subdued and put into a police car, he was taken to Garfield County Jail to be booked. He will face charges of felony vehicular eluding, resisting arrest, reckless driving, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He will not, however, be charged with anything relating to his reported strange behavior at the coffee drive-thru.
“We felt like it was just iffy enough from her statements to not charge him with that,” Wilson said.
Anderson has a history of minor scrapes with local law enforcement dating back to at least 1985. His most recent arrest prior to Tuesday came on Jan. 6 at the Glenwood Springs Mall Theater, when he was arrested on suspicion of third-degree criminal trespass, obstructing a peace officer, and disorderly conduct, and brought to the Garfield County Jail with an emergency commit for a mental evaluation.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.