Suspect in ‘bizarre’ Rifle car chase in custody
The suspected driver of a car police say nearly injured a young girl and sped up to 80 miles per hour near a Rifle school Monday afternoon is in custody on $15,500 bond.
Khalil Anderson, 20, is charged with vehicular eluding for leading Rifle Police on a car chase, a felony, and a host of misdemeanors, including reckless endangerment and reckless driving for the incident.
“This case is relatively serious,” deputy 9th District Attorney Tony Hershey said. “They’re just allegations of course, and he’s innocent until proven guilty.”
Anderson was arrested Wednesday and his bond was set at such a high amount out of concerns he would skip bail.
The purpose of bond is to ensure a return to court, Hershey said, and since Anderson had run from the police prosecutors were concerned he would miss hearing dates. He is scheduled to return in May, but has other traffic charges and another misdemeanor case pending in Rifle, according to court records.
Anderson turned himself in to police on Wednesday morning.
The alleged reckless driving began well before police began pursuing the suspect, according to Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein.
“It was a bizarre call, because the driving was awful before the officer got in behind him,” he said.
Emergency dispatch received several 911 calls Monday, around the time school was being let out, concerned about a Nissan Pathfinder driving dangerously.
One person called 911 to report that the vehicle had passed a school bus which had its stop sign out.
In a written statement, a reporting party said that a “guy in a Nissan Pathfinder almost hit a little girl on the sidewalk…. then almost hit my jeep,” according to the arrest warrant.
That person also included a photograph of a Nissan Pathfinder apparently crossing a double-yellow line to pass a school bus along Whiteriver Avenue.
Another person reported to 911 that the Pathfinder was near Wamsley Elementary School, and an officer caught up with him at Deerfield Park.
The Pathfinder drove down State Highway 13, and the officer activated lights. The Pathfinder stopped for a brief time at a traffic signal, then ran a red light, according to the affidavit.
The pursuit continued southbound on Railroad Ave, speeding up to nearly 80 miles per hour as it passed Rifle Middle School, where the speed limit is 20 mph.
Because it was after 4 p.m., there were numerous children in the area, so the officer gave up the pursuit.
The officer saw the Pathfinder stop near the Gateway Lodge, states the affidavit. The officer followed and got out of the car with a weapon drawn and yelled commands. The driver sped off.
Eventually, another officer saw the car go back to the Gateway Lodge, and recognized the driver as Khalil Anderson. Anderson looked at the officer, gestured with his hands and mouthed the words “I’m sorry” as he drove off, according to the officer.
Anderson’s mother approached the officers giving pursuit to Anderson under the Interstate 70 overpass, shouting at them not to hurt her son.
Anderson’s mother stated that her son was angry because he had been in a fight with his girlfriend, had come home to grab some stuff and then stormed out of the residence.
She said she had been following her son when police began their pursuit.
Anderson’s driver’s license had been suspended, and he had seven active restraints.
But it would be speculation to think he had allegedly driven erratically out of fear of the warrants, Klein said.
“You normally don’t have that kind of driving until the officer actually gets behind him, and they run because they know they have active warrants,” Klein said.
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Upon informing the driver “it was not very smart to be transporting marijuana through Utah,” the man stated he “thought it was legal everywhere.”