Chase ends with crash at Aspen golf course |

Chase ends with crash at Aspen golf course

Rustin Gudim/The Aspen TimesPolice say Aspen resident Mark Vandeleuv took them on a high-speed chase around midnight Wednesday. Vandeleuv allegedly drove his friend's SUV over a highway embankment, crossing a bike path and running over a wooden fence before coming to a halt near the 10th green at the Aspen Golf Course.

ASPEN – Mark Vandeleuv’s brief taste of freedom was long enough to allegedly crash a friend’s vehicle into the Aspen golf course, and go back to jail.

Vandeleuv, 48, posted $7,500 bond on Tuesday night to be freed from the Pitkin County jail, where he’d been incarcerated since March 13 on cocaine and criminal impersonation charges. But late Wednesday night, he allegedly led police on a high-speed chase through the S-curves and westbound on Highway 82, ultimately crashing a green Ford Explorer near the 10th hole at the Aspen Golf Club.

He managed to flee the scene on foot and elude police officers, who never saw him escape from the wrecked vehicle, said Aspen Police Department spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro.

For a better part of Thursday, police had been on the lookout for Vandeleuv, who was not believed to be armed with any weapons. They got a break when they received a call from one of the suspect’s friends, who said Vandeleuv had holed up at his apartment unit at the Aspen Business Center.

The roommate discovered Vandeleuv early in the day when he returned home from work, Dasaro said. He tipped police off after he learned Vandeleuv allegedly wrecked the roommate’s Ford Explorer, which police impounded and took into evidence, Dasaro said.

Vandeleuv was arrested around 3 p.m. at the apartment without incident. He was arrested on a parole hold and failure to comply with bond conditions, Dasaro said.

A warrant was being prepared for his arrest for felony criminal mischief and multiple traffic offenses from the chase, which came after police pulled Vandeleuv over at approximately 11:58 p.m. Wednesday, near North 7th and West Hallam streets, on suspicion of driving under the influence.

As officer David Rosselot approached Vandeleuv, who was seated in the Explorer, he took off westbound from the S-curves onto Highway 82. The SUV hit speeds as high as 70 miles per hour in the 35-mph zone, Dasaro said.

Just before he reached the Truscott Apartments traffic signal, Vandeleuv lost control of the vehicle and it went over the curb, down an embankment, through a wooden fence and onto the public golf course. The vehicle came to rest against some trees and brush on the golf course, which is located next to the Truscott complex.

When four officers arrived at the scene, they noticed that the airbags had deployed but there was no sign of the suspect, who apparently fled on foot, Dasaro said.

Estimated damages to a golf-course green and fence was $1,500, police said.

The late Wednesday incident marked the latest brush with the law for Vandeleuv, a local kitchen worker who’s drifted in and out of the local court system since 1996, when he was ticketed for driving under the influence.

On June 16, 2008, he began serving an 18-month sentence in the Department of Corrections for a cocaine possession conviction.

He was arrested in Aspen again on March 14, for parole violation, cocaine possession and criminal impersonation. He had been incarcerated at the Pitkin County Jail since the arrest, but bonded out this week.

The March arrest came when Officer Casey Ward was called to the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall, where Vandeleuv was seen by another officer who believe he had violated parole, according to allegations in a police affidavit.

When Ward approached Vandeleuv, he kept walking, but later told the police officer that he was Eric Vandeleuv, the brother of Mark. Further inspection revealed that he was Mark Vandeleuv, triggering the criminal impersonation charge.

Police also allegedly found a small baggy with a white substance on Vandeleuv, which later tested positive for cocaine.

Until Tuesday, Vandeleuv had seven felony arrests on his record, though at least one had been dismissed, court records show.

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