An Aztec man who allegedly led police on a miles-long high-speed chase and crashed into a sheriff’s deputy earlier this month has been charged with two felonies.
Law enforcement say Wade Anderson, 33, evaded police and damaged a La Plata County Sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle Aug. 11 in the 7100 block of La Posta Road (County Road 213), about 7 miles south of Durango near an oil well in the mountains west of the Animas River.
The Sheriff’s Office accused Anderson of vehicular eluding and vehicular assault, both Class 5 felonies, and attempted first-degree assault on a police officer. Prosecutors charged him with vehicular eluding, criminal mischief, a Class 6 felony, and a reckless driving charge.
The arresting deputy wrote in court documents that he and at least one Durango police officer chased the driver, later identified as Anderson, of a white Dodge Dakota from Santa Rita Park. The truck led law enforcement southbound on Camino del Rio and onto La Posta Road, court documents show.
The deputy followed the truck at speeds exceeding 75 mph to an unnamed dirt road near the midpoint between the north end and south end of the county road, a La Plata Sheriff’s deputy wrote in arresting documents.
Law enforcement followed the truck along the 1½-mile dirt road to a dead-end at an oil well in the mountains west of the Animas River. The truck went one direction around the oil well, and the sheriff’s deputy went the other direction in an attempt to cut off the driver and stop the pursuit, court documents show.
“I observed the vehicle accelerate heading directly at me, close enough for me to observe a determined look on the drivers (sic) face as it appeared that he was trying to disable my marked patrol vehicle,” the arresting officer wrote in a sworn affidavit.
The deputy tried to avoid a crash but couldn’t. The truck crushed the front passenger-side fender of the deputy’s patrol vehicle and sped down the only road out of the area, dodging two Durango police cruisers as it tried to escape, law enforcement said.
The sheriff’s deputy stopped his pursuit to inspect the damage to his vehicle. Durango police found the truck crashed at the end of another oil road. Once the sheriff’s deputy arrived at the crash site, Anderson was arrested.
Prosecutors also charged Anderson as a habitual criminal in connection with prior felony convictions, including in 2009 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; forgery; arson; receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle; and fraudulent signing of a credit card, sales slip or agreement.
Convictions for habitual offenders give judges the authority to sentence an individual up to four times the maximum allowed punishment. The maximum sentence for a Class 5 felony in Colorado, Anderson’s most serious charge, is three years – meaning, if he’s found to be a habitual offender, he could face up to 12 years in prison.
His next scheduled court date is Sept. 19. He’s being held at La Plata County Jail on $10,000 cash or surety bail.