MORGAN COUNTY — The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man accused of stealing a semi-truck Saturday night and leading police on a pursuit that spanned multiple counties and left five people – including a police officer -- injured.
Christopher Luedtke, 29, was arrested after the sheriff’s office says he jumped from the moving semi on a residential street in Brush and ran into a nearby house. He faces multiple charges for attempted first-degree murder (including attempted murder of a peace officer), as well as first-degree assault, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Monday morning.
He also faces several other felony and misdemeanor charges involving numerous rammed vehicles that will be finalized by the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says Luedtke listed his address as “transient,” however, they claim he has lived in the rural northeast Colorado county for “a number of years.”
His criminal history in Morgan County dates back to 2006, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. His previous convictions include felony menacing and assault. Luedkte has been arrested as recently as November 2017, when he was accused of aggravated motor vehicle theft in Bent County.
Saturday’s chaotic incident began near Sterling, when deputies say Luedtke stole a semi-truck and was pursued by police. Later, deputies from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office chased the truck into Morgan County.
Law enforcement continued to pursue the stolen semi-truck through Brush and west onto US 34. In the process, deputies say the rig hit another vehicle and injured that driver.
The truck continued to Barlow Road in Fort Morgan and rammed into a parked police car, injuring the officer inside.
The truck then headed onto Interstate 76, and then exited onto Hospital Road and drove through Love’s Truck Stop – nearly hitting a pedestrian, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies say the semi then continued onto Hospital Road to Mill Street.
Next, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says the truck tried to run down a Brush police officer near the town’s middle school. This prompted police to fire at Luedtke, who deputies say rammed and destroyed the officer’s empty patrol car.
Law enforcement also fired at the driver on Highway 34 and inside Brush to try and prevent him from injuring people, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said.
As the truck turned south on Colorado Avenue, it drove into the oncoming lanes of traffic and struck a northbound car head-on, injuring both people inside. A few blocks away, it struck another vehicle near Cameron and Eaton Street, injuring one of the two people inside.
That vehicle was pushed into a tree and rolled onto its side up against a house and a fence.
Continuing down city streets, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says the driver jumped from the moving semi in the 800 block of Custer Street and it crashed into two parked vehicles in a front yard.
The driver ran into a house there before he was taken into custody.
Four of five people whose vehicles were struck by the tractor and freight trailer, including a Fort Morgan police officer, were treated at area hospitals. One of them was held overnight for observation.
Luedtke was treated and released from a hospital with minor injuries before he and was booked into the Morgan County Jail.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has asked anyone with video or photos of the pursuit to contact them by calling 970-867-2461 or messaging the department on Facebook.