HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — No one was seriously hurt after an SUV driven by a teenage girl crashed into a house Friday night following a police chase involving Douglas County deputies, a department spokesperson said.
The white Mercedes SUV hit speeds double the posted limit on winding roads lined by homes during the chase, the sheriff said. Department spokesperson Cocha Heyden said officers pursued the car after a deputy spotted it speeding away from a house party in the 9000 block of Miners Place where there were reports of gunshots.
"In our business, that's what we call a clue," said Sheriff Tony Spurlock. "We saw there was a car speeding away and we had shots fired, it could have been the persons that were in possession of the gun and may have been involved in the shooting so we wanted to apprehend them."
Neighbors recalled hearing the speeding car crash into a house in the 8700 block of Forrest Court around 10 p.m. That is between South Colorado Boulevard and South University Boulevard near C-470.
"Everybody was just shocked," said Dean Fulford, who lives across the street from the home where the crash happened.
Another neighbor's Nest camera captured video of the Mercedes and the police cruiser speeding by, followed by the sound of the crash.
Fulford said deputies arrived within seconds of the crash and initially treated the three teenage girls inside as suspects.
"They had guns drawn and they were surrounding the area, surrounding the house," he said. "And just basically were telling the occupants in the car to stand down and come out with their hands up."
Heyden said deputies no longer suspect the girls — two passengers aged 15 and 16, and a 16-year-old driver — were involved in the shots fired incident, which remains under investigation.
The driver is now suspected of DUI and could also face charges for fleeing officers, Heyden said.
Spurlock defended his deputies' decision to pursue the car through the residential neighborhood, calling it "good police work." He said blame for the crash falls on the driver who failed to stop.
"For them to flee the police to cause the damage -- not only to themselves, but to these homeowners -- is all on them," he said. "They created a danger to the community in Highlands Ranch by speeding away from police. So from my perspective, the deputies did a great job."
Fulford said he thought the deputies were professional and courteous once they determined the girls in the car were not a threat.
"You know, it's sad to see young kids going through this and I felt very sad for our neighbors, they're a lovely couple," he said. "I think [deputies] were doing what they have to do. Shots were fired so they needed to protect the area."
Spurlock said the investigation into the gunshots that were fired at the party is ongoing. Heyden said no one was injured in that incident.
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