WALSENBURG — A suspected car thief led state and local authorities on two separate chases, one through Walsenburg and another onto I-25 northbound that ended near mile marker 91 Monday morning. Clint Marquez, 22, of Rocky Ford allegedly stole a 2014 Chevrolet Camero from that community sometime late Sunday or early Monday morning and attempted to access the Interstate at Exit 50. The newer model muscle car was equipped with OnStar and when the theft was reported, the vehicle’s technology allowed notification to law enforcement of the Camero’s direction of travel. Colorado State Patrol Troopers attempted to contact the stolen vehicle in Walsenburg and a short chase ensued. The OnStar system may have put the vehicle into what is know as ‘limp’ mode that limits the vehicle’s speed to about 10-mph. Marquez abandoned the vehicle next to the guardrail at the intersection of Hwy 10 and the on ramp of I-25. The suspect fled the area and troopers were seen by witnesses checking the area with flashlights in the early morning hours Monday. Marquez evidently did not hitchhike out of the area, as a Hwy. 10 resident saw their family vehicle, a 1997 Ford F350 being stolen at about 6:50 am heading in the
direction of northbound I-25. According to authorities, the vehicle stolen is registered to Jayme and Jason McGraw. Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman heard police radio traffic concerning the theft of the pick- up and its possible connection with the stolen Camero case and headed out northbound on the Interstate. Newman said he caught up with the suspected stolen pick-up just north of the Huerfano and activated his lights and siren. “The minute I lit him up he trounced on it,” said Newman. “I hit the lights and saw the driver look up into his rear view mirror and then he romped on it,” he said. Newman said the stolen pick-up was traveling at the speed limit, 75-mph when he got behind it. The pick-up and the sheriff’s patrol vehicle quickly hit the 100-mph mark; and the chase was on. State troopers were also back into the case at this point and had set up stop-stick deployment in the Burnt Mill Road area of the Interstate. Another set of stop sticks were ready for deployment at a location about one quarter-mile north. Both the pick-up and the sheriff’s vehicle hit the tire deflation device at the initial location and Newman said he observed the fleeing pick-up nearly strike a state trooper at the second location. “From my mind, and what I saw, he (Marquez) aimed the vehicle at the trooper,” Newman said. “I could hear the air going out of a tire,” Newman told the World Journal Tuesday, but he said he was still traveling in excess of 90-miles per hour at that time. Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen had also heard the sheriff was involved in a pursuit and had fallen in behind Newman as a cover car. Newman’s right front tire began to disintegrate and he and McLallen dropped out of the chase near the Stem Beach area. The state patrol and Pueblo police were involved at this point with Pueblo police blocking northbound exits and troopers chasing the pick-up. The chase ended at a downtown Pueblo exit. Reports indicate Marquez again ran from the stolen pick-up but was quickly chased down by authorities and taken into custody. Both vehicles were recovered, and no injuries have been reported from the incident. The state patrol has taken the full case and information from the Pueblo County Jail says Marquez faces charges of first degree assault (class 3 felony); vehicular eluding (class four felony); aggravated first degree motor vehicle theft (class four felony) and driving while license either suspended, revoked or denied. Marquez was being held without bond in the Pueblo County Jail as of Tuesday.