Law enforcement accounts relating the high-speed pursuit and subsequent search for a man wanted in connection with a pair of Denver drive-by shootings read more like an action movie script.
Chad Bracken, a Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper assigned to the Rawlins Division in Carbon County, filed an affidavit with the Carbon County Circuit Court concerning the search for, chase and apprehension of Jose Guadalupe Valdez Silerio on Aug. 26.
Wyoming Highway Patrol spokesman Jeremy Beck said the pursuit of Valdez began the night before somewhere west of Jackson County in northwest Colorado.
Area sheriff’s deputies, aware of an outstanding Colorado arrest warrant for Valdez related to the drive-by shootings “attempted a traffic stop on this individual,” Beck said. “A high-speed chase began that traveled east into Jackson County, Colorado.”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s office was notified to be on the lookout for a small, white 1994 Toyota passenger car that had eluded law enforcement officers in Routt County and was believed headed in their direction.
In Jackson County, deputies located the suspect vehicle and attempted to stop it. A pursuit began with the suspect finally turning north toward Wyoming at the three-way junction of Colorado Highways 125 and 127.
As the chase neared the state line, the Wyoming Highway Patrol was notified that Colorado law officers needed assistance as they entered Wyoming.
WHP Trooper Bracken received a phone call at his home in Rawlins from dispatch “at approximately 1 a.m.” Aug. 26 advising him “that Jackson County deputies from Colorado were in vehicle pursuit,” he wrote in the affidavit.
Bracken said he left immediately for Riverside. While en route, Bracken and all responding troopers were informed by WHP dispatch that the suspect vehicle had “crashed at the junction of Encampment and Riverside,” meaning the T intersection of Highways 70 and 230 by the Trading Post.
When WHP Troopers and local law enforcement arrived in the area they found “a small white 1994 Toyota Corolla passenger vehicle was crashed into a field east of Encampment,” according to the affidavit. “There was significant front-end damage to the vehicle. and it had to be towed from the scene.”
Vehicle records showed that Valdez wasn’t the owner of the vehicle.
Jackson County Colorado Deputies were still at the scene and advised that the vehicle was the same one being driven by the defendant they were pursuing.
The driver of the crashed vehicle was not around and “a manhunt took place into the early morning hours of Aug. 26th in an attempt to locate” Valdez, the affidavit says. WHP Troopers and local law enforcement, including Carbon County Sheriff’s deputies and Saratoga Police officers, were involved in the search. Encampment Police were not involved in this search.
They ultimately were unsuccessful and “the manhunt was suspended,” Bracken wrote.
A be on the lookout notice was issued for Valdez with his picture by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office. Later that day, the affidavit says the Saratoga Police Department received a phone call reporting “a man matching the description of (Valdez) was seen stealing a 1998 green and silver Dodge Diesel 2500 pickup in Encampment.”
The vehicle was seen heading west on Highway 70 toward Baggs.
WHP Troopers and local law enforcement responded immediately.
Trooper Bracken wrote in his affidavit that by the time he reached Baggs from Rawlins, WHP Trooper Joe Devlin had located the stolen vehicle traveling west on Highway 70 at about mile marker 18.
Devlin attempted to stop Valdez, who again tried to elude the pursuit. With the chase on again, “Trooper Devlin advised he was in vehicle pursuit … reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour” in a posted 70 mph zone, according to the affidavit.
Bracken turned onto Highway 70 upon reaching Baggs.
“I parked my vehicle at approximately (mile marker) 6 and set up my spike strips to disable the vehicle,” he wrote. When the stolen truck arrived it “avoided my stop sticks by driving on the right-hand shoulder of the highway.”
After picking up his spike strips Bracken said he “engaged in the vehicle pursuit.”
Valdez wrote the chase continued west on Hwy. 70 “at speeds reaching up to 90 mph.” WHP Trooper Devlin “attempted several tactical vehicle interventions (TVI’s) with no success. Valdez “would veer back and forth into the oncoming lane to avoid each TVI.”
Valdez’s vehicle left its lane of travel several times to avoid Devlin’s attempts to stop him.
The stolen vehicle continued into the town of Baggs and turned right onto Highway 789 “where it continued north toward Creston Junction,” according to Bracken’s statement.
Valdez again reached speeds of 90 mph while swerving into the oncoming lane of traffic to avoid Trooper Devlin’s continued efforts to use TVIs.
Valdez was traveling at 90 mph, according to Bracken’s report, when he swerved to avoid another set of spike strips set by WHP Lt. Tyler Chapman. With this, Chapman had joined the effort to stop Valdez.
At about mile marker 8 on Highway 789 WHP, Trooper Richard Morrison became the third officer to attempt to spike the stolen vehicle.
“The vehicle slowed down to moderate speeds and avoided the spike strips,” the affidavit says. “Valdez drove (his vehicle) into the passenger side of Trooper Joe Devlin’s patrol vehicle and caused significant damage to it. After his patrol vehicle was struck by Valdez, Trooper Devlin was able to successfully (execute a) TVI on the vehicle driven by Valdez.”
This success came after numerous attempts and a chase of some 50 miles.
“While Troopers were attempting to pin the vehicle, Valdez began to drive off and attempted to go around patrol vehicles, (but his truck) became disabled,” according to the affidavit.
This ended the two-day chase and search that had begun in northwest Colorado and covered 109 miles over three Wyoming highways.
With his vehicle stopped, Valdez jumped out of his vehicle to flee. As the closest officer, Bracken exited his patrol car and gave the defendant “the command to get down on the ground. (He) refused my order,” and because of his proximity to Valdez, Bracken wrote he “immediately attempted a straight arm take down. Other Troopers and Carbon County Deputies were able to place Valdez into custody.”
The defendant (Valdez) was placed under arrest and taken to Memorial Hospital for evaluation and released. The defendant was then transported to the Carbon County Jail, where he was booked in without incident.
The damage to the WHP patrol car is significant and is estimated at $12,000. The damage to the stolen 1998 Dodge Diesel 2500 pickup is between $3,950 and $6,043, according to Bracken’s report.
Valdez remains in the Carbon County Jail awaiting his Preliminary Hearing on Sept. He is charged with three felonies and four misdemeanors.