Suspected auto thief may have drowned in the Colorado River |

Suspected auto thief may have drowned in the Colorado River

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
John Colson Post IndependentPolice officers from New Castle are joined by Garfield County Sheriff's Deputies and members of the county's Search and Rescue team, combing the south bank of the Colorado River for clues related to a vehicle-theft suspect's flight and probable drowning on Monday.

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – Authorities on Monday were unable to locate a man believed to have drowned in the Colorado River while attempting to elude arrest for auto theft.

Authorities searched both banks along a two-mile stretch of the river on foot, and attempted to peer into the depths from a rubber raft, for most of the day with no success.

The suspect was described by police as a white male between 25 and 30 years old.

New Castle Police Chief Chris Sadler said his department was first called shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday about an auto theft in progress at the Innermountain Distributing Co. on County Road 335, south of the Colorado River.

The vehicle, a pickup truck, was not associated with Innermountain, Sadler said, and was first reported heading toward the New Castle interchange on 335 Road.

While Sadler was enroute to the scene, he received another call from a witness who reported that the suspect had spun out of control while leaving the parking lot of the business park and rolled the stolen vehicle.

As officers arrived at the scene, the suspect fled on foot, running down to the river and jumping in to swim to the north bank.

Officers quickly gathered on the north and south banks of the river, cutting off the suspect’s intended escape route, Sadler reported.

When the suspect saw that he was surrounded, Sadler said, the man jumped back in the river and started swimming downstream.

Authorities lost sight of him, and started searching along the river on foot. Sadler said it appears the suspect drowned.

The New Castle Police Department, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Garfield County Search and Rescue, the Burning Mountains Fire Department and the Colorado State Patrol were involved in the chase, and all but the state patrol took part in the subsequent search.

A helicopter was scheduled to join the search late Monday, according to Search and Rescue Chief Lanny Grant.

Grant said the suspect was believed to be wearing a T-shirt, a hoodie and long pants.

Sadler told the Post Independent that the identity of the suspect remained unknown.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the New Castle police at 970-984-2302.

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