KUSA - Police arrested, Ryan Cole Stone, 28, the man who stole a red SUV early Wednesday morning with a 4-year-old boy inside. Stone then led police on a chase, ditched the red SUV and carjacked two additional vehicles before crashing.
It started at 6:20 a.m. when the red SUV was stolen from a Longmont gas station. Allan Chavarria-Rodriguez, 4, was inside the SUV. His mom had gone inside the convenience store to get a cup of coffee. She left her son - and her keys in the vehicle.
That's when an Amber Alert went out and police began searching for the 2008 red Ford Edge. Police correctly assumed the boy was still in the SUV.
Stone drove from Longmont to Brighton on I-76. At around 7:30 a.m., Stone jumped out of the red SUV and carjacked a silver minivan, dramatically forcing two people out of the vehicle. It was Stone's second stolen vehicle of the day.
The people who were forced out of the gold van were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The 4-year-old boy was found safe in the red SUV.
He fled on foot when police chased him down and arrested him.
Stone then drove the stolen gold minivan against oncoming traffic on E-470. He weaved in and out of traffic, at times exceeding 100 miles per hour.
At 8:03 a.m. at E-470 and Chambers, Stone clipped state trooper Bellamann Hee, who was laying down stop sticks. The trooper was taken to the hospital. He had surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
Then at 8:05 a.m. Stone decided to ditch the gold minivan and carjacked yet another vehicle. He pulled open the door of a silver sedan and pulled a young lady out. She fought him. But Stone was able to speed away in his third stolen vehicle of the morning. He drove to Lincoln and Peoria.
Stone then crashed the silver vehicle into Stacy Rader's car, fled on foot and was caught by police at Peoria and Lincoln.
"Oh, my God, I was crying. I didn't know if I was going to die or if I was hurt. I didn't know," Rader said. "I was just spinning."
Rader was checked by paramedics on scene and was able to leave uninjured with her husband.
Stone ran over to one of the cars he hit. To some it looked like he may have intended to carjack another vehicle. But a police officer was standing right there. Stone started to run away from the officer, while removing his jacket. Three officers chased Stone. One officer had his gun drawn. Stone immediately dropped to the ground on his stomach.
Stone, who lives in Centennial, has a lengthy criminal record dating back more than a decade. He was wanted on an arrest warrant out of Arapahoe County for dangerous drugs. He also served time in prison for menacing and weapons charges.
Now Stone could face a long list of new charges since the chase unfolded across several counties. Legal experts say it is likely he could spend the rest of his life in jail.
He spend Wednesday night behind bars in the Douglas County jail.
Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver said they were trying to keep the public safe during the chase.
"We knew what to do. You see the cars not pursuing him. We were hoping this person would slow down" Weaver said during a Wednesday morning press conference. "We stopped the traffic on the bridges, etc. - to allow him access - hopefully number one - to save that child. That was paramount, to make sure that child would not be injured. Secondly, hopefully he would either make a maneuver, once we knew he was away from the child."
Longmont police say that this all started Tuesday, the day before, Stone allegedly stole an F-150 pickup truck.
Police say Stone's girlfriend, Julie Pawlak, 19, helped in the theft. A Boulder County judge set bail at $15,000 for Pawlak on Wednesday afternoon. Police found marijuana, meth pipes and empty syringes on her when she was arrested.
While on that scene, Longmont police say Pawlak walked by in a nearby alley with her dog.
According to arrest documents, Pawlak gave officers a false name and address and was allowed to leave the scene.
The charges are mounting against Stone. Multiple aggravated auto thefts, kidnapping, assault, vehicular assault, vehicular eluding are among the charges he may face when he goes to court. He could even be simultaneously prosecuted by multiple jurisdictions.
Under Colorado law, having three or more prior convictions allows prosecutors to charge defendants as habitual offenders. That means Stone could face a potential sentence that is four times the ordinary maximums.
The most serious charges include kidnapping and hitting a trooper. In fact, Stone could be charged with attempted murder for hitting a trooper during the chase. That could get Stone up to 192 years in jail - because he has prior felonies.
According to sources familiar with the case, Stone has five prior felonies.
"It's basically a life sentence with the kinds of charges we're talking about here," said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)
RAW: Time lapse video of entire chase
RAW: Video of chase part 1 (7:15 a.m.)
RAW: Video of chase part 2 (7:25 a.m.)
RAW: Video of chase part 3 (7:35 a.m.)
RAW: Video of chase part 4 (7:45 a.m.)
RAW: Video of chase part 5 (7:55 a.m.)
RAW: Video of chase part 6 (8:05 a.m.)