Silverthorne SWAT fugitive eludes police in Kansas as daring, multi-state chase continues
For nearly six hours on Wednesday, police in tactical gear surrounded the Quality Inn in Silverthorne hoping to capture a man who was accused of an audacious escape that involved ramming a patrol car and vanishing into the night after leading officers on a chase to Frisco.
All the while, however, 34-year-old William Roberts was hightailing it to Kansas, where he again evaded police in a high-speed chase and escaped on foot after going over two spike strips at around 8 p.m.
Police believe he then stole a white pickup truck in the nearby town of Kechi. Where he’s taking it is anyone’s guess.
Roberts, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps’ elite MARSOC special operations command, has drawn online comparisons to action movie heroes for his wild escapes.
“He’s obviously intelligent, there’s no question about that, in terms of figuring out ways to elude us,” said North Newton, Kansas, police chief Randy Jordan, whose officers chased Roberts as he roared down the highway at 130 miles per hour in a Chevrolet Camaro SS. “I don’t know if I’d go as far as calling him Jason Bourne, but he is certainly intelligent.”
Aurora police asked Silverthorne police to arrest Roberts at around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, accusing him of assaulting his girlfriend with a car and leaving her with serious injuries.
A Dillon police officer spotted his car at the Dillon Dam Brewery and parked his patrol car behind it to prevent him from leaving.
Roberts was undeterred. He allegedly rammed into the patrol car to move it out of the way and then sped off. Silverthorne police briefly pursued him, but he escaped to Frisco.
There, police swarmed to a parking lot where they believed Roberts had ditched his car. They released a canine to sniff him out, but to no avail.
The next morning, police were told that Roberts was staying at the Quality Inn, but that tip turned out to be stale. Just hours after police called off their SWAT operation there, Roberts was pulled over for speeding by a North Newton, Kansas, police officer.
The officer noticed that Roberts was a fugitive while running his license plate, police chief Jordan said. At the same time, a sheriff’s deputy happened to stop at the scene to back up the officer.
Roberts, it seems, was spooked. He sped off in the Camaro before they could arrest him and strung police out across two counties before two rounds of spike strips finally immobilized him.
Because of how fast he was going, however, police had lost contact with him and he was able to escape on foot, Jordan said.
Around that time, the pickup was reported stolen in Kechi. As of late Thursday afternoon, he was still on the run, presumably in the pickup.
Roberts reportedly suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from multiple overseas tours in the military. He is considered armed and highly dangerous.
Police say they are working with his family in the hopes of bringing the multi-state chase to a peaceful resolution.
A Garfield County Corrections security guard jogging in New Castle on Sunday survived being attacked by a former prisoner.
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