Man busted after `exciting’ car chase on Highway 82 |

Man busted after `exciting’ car chase on Highway 82

Nine officers from five valley police agencies joined forces early Tuesday to corral a 19-year-old valley resident who led them on a high-speed chase on Highway 82.

Matthew Collins was arrested at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, following a half-hour long chase, according to Deputy George Kremer of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday night, Collins was being held in the Garfield County Jail on a $10,000 bond, on charges of felony eluding, felony attempted assault, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and failure to present a license, according to jail officials.

Kremer, who believes Collins was driving a stolen car, said a motor vehicle theft charge will likely be filed in Aspen. Police say Collins stole the vehicle from Aspen over the weekend.

A Garfield County Sheriff’s deputy first contacted Collins in the 1997 Ford pickup near the Catherine Store on Highway 82 at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities had received reports that the vehicle was being driven erratically, he said.

When the officer got out of his vehicle to approach the pickup, Collins hit the gas and fled the scene, Kremer said, heading toward Basalt at a 110 mph.

After hearing of the emergency, a Basalt police officer positioned his patrol car on Highway 82, prompting Collins to turn around and head downvalley in the upvalley lanes, Kremer said.

Collins then allegedly turned off at Blue Lake, and more officers joined the chase.

“We briefly had him boxed in a cul de sac there, but he cut across somebody’s lawn to get back to the highway,” Kremer said.

At least two slumbering off-duty Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputies were rousted by the commotion in sleepy Blue Lake.

In the meantime, authorities had set up tack strips on Highway 82. When Collins again headed downvalley, the truck’s tires were soon shredded.

However, the blown tires didn’t stop the chase, Kremer said. Collins continued to speed up and down that stretch of highway.

Collins finally jumped from the truck while it was still rolling, near Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. He made it less than 100 yards on foot before authorities tackled him, Kremer said. Nobody was injured in the incident.

“The guy probably thought cops were falling from the sky,” Kremer said, “there were so many of us.” Four state troopers, one Garfield deputy, one Eagle County deputy, one Pitkin County deputy, and two Basalt police officers participated in the chase.

“I can’t think of the last time we had a pursuit like that,” Kremer added. “It was exciting.”

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