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Suspect captured after high-speed chase

HUERFANO — A multi-agency response to an alleged armed robbery in the San Luis Valley late Saturday night ended with the arrest of a suspect on I-25 in Pueblo County early Sunday morning. Reports are still pending from the various agencies involved in the incident, but Steven McCranie, 26, of Fort Collins, CO, was booked into the Huerfano County Jail on local charges of felony eluding following a chase that finally ended at approximately mile marker 86 northbound Sunday morning. Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman told the Huerfano World Journal Monday, a description of the vehicle, a white Chevy S-10 pick-up truck, had been broadcast by the Colorado State Patrol. Newman said at about 12:30 am Sunday, Huerfano County Deputy Cory Daniels spotted a truck matching the description as he was westbound on US160. Newman said the suspect vehicle initially pulled over when Daniels turned his patrol vehicle around. Daniels pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his overhead emergency lights. At that point the vehicle sped away, eastbound on the highway. Daniels notified dispatch and Walsenburg Police Officers Cpl. John Salazar and Justin Bethel set out stop sticks in about the 1,000 block of West Seventh St. The truck hit the tire deflation device and at least one tire was damaged. However, McCranie did not stop and led local police and sheriff’s deputies in a high speed chase onto the northbound interstate highway with speeds reaching 70 to 90 miles per hour. Sheriff Newman said his office called off their pursuit just before it entered into southern Pueblo County. The Colorado State Patrol also was involved at this point and put out tire deflation devices at approximately mile marker 83, which the suspect struck. The vehicle ran off the highway about three miles further north. Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen said Officer Bethel then took McCranie into custody. According to Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Supervisor Lt. Jim McCloskey, McCranie is alleged to have threatened his girlfriend, Victoria Salas, with a knife while they were both in his vehicle at the Loaf and Jug located at the intersection of state highway 17 and US 160 in Alamosa County. McCloskey said when their deputies arrived at the scene, Salas had been left behind and McCranie had fled. A description of the suspect vehicle was broadcast by Valley authorities, but there was no local pursuit according to ACSO. McCloskey said the incident in Alamosa is classified as domestic violence related. After his arrest, McCranie was found to have two active felony warrants from Weld County and a misdemeanor warrant from Larimer County. Sheriff Newman said one of the Weld County felony warrants carries a $1,000 bond and the other is a no-bond charge. The Larimer County misdemeanor warrant is for $500. McCranie appeared in custody in court in Huerfano County Monday afternoon and bond on the local class five felony vehicular eluding charge was set at $5,000 cash-only. Assistant District Attorney Andrew Hall said the defendant may face aggravated robbery charges from Alamosa, but that information had not been made available to the DA’s office. McCranie will return to court in Huerfano County at 1:30 pm January 23, 2014 on the local charge. The incident did not end totally with the suspect’s arrest Sunday. Sheriff Newman said while being interviewed in custody, the suspect made statements which led authorities to believe some kind of hazardous material may have been in his vehicle. Shortly before 4 pm Sunday, the CSP HAZMAT response unit, Huerfano County Fire Protection District firefighters, Huerfano Ambulance Service EMTs and sheriff’s deputies met at the Daniels Towing impound lot located off of East Fifth Street. Later in the afternoon a hazardous materials team from Pueblo Rural Fire Department also arrived on scene to assist. The multi-agency HAZMAT team made entry into the lot and searched the vehicle beginning at about 6 pm. One vial of a clear liquid was recovered but field testing did not indicate a presence of any substance related to the manufacturing of illegal drugs or explosives, according to Sheriff Newman. But, he said the CSP lab will conduct further tests as the substance was not immediately identified.