Powell, Cody and state police were involved in a pair of high-speed pursuits on Saturday morning, as they attempted to stop and apprehend the driver (or drivers) of two stolen vehicles.One pursuit …
Powell, Cody and state police were involved in a pair of high-speed pursuits on Saturday morning, as they attempted to stop and apprehend the driver (or drivers) of two stolen vehicles.
One pursuit was relatively brief, ending when the driver of a stolen pickup hit a Powell police car and crashed into the Garland Canal around 3:40 a.m.; the other pursuit stretched all the way from Powell to Cody, ending around 6:23 a.m. when police deployed spike strips to stop a stolen car.
In both cases, police say the driver or drivers managed to get away on foot. Police said the truck had been stolen from Cody and the car from Billings.
Officers were still investigating the cases and pursuing leads on Saturday afternoon, leaving a number of details unclear. For instance, the information released by police indicates that at least three suspects were involved in the chases, with an apparent passenger apprehended. But a Cody Police Department news release left the current status of the driver or drivers unclear.
“The Cody Police Department has received information regarding persons of interest in this case, and the suspect(s) of the second vehicle are not considered to be at large,” Officer John Harris said in a Saturday afternoon release. The department did not respond to requests for more clarity on that statement.
The incident began at 3:14 a.m. Saturday, when a man in the 2000 block of Cody’s 26th Street reported to authorities that someone had driven off with his truck.
“The vehicle owner had started his vehicle to warm it up and left it unattended,” wrote Harris. “When he later went to leave his residence, he noticed his vehicle was gone.”
Dispatchers soon broadcast a description of the stolen truck to other law enforcement agencies in the area.
At 3:36 a.m. — just 22 minutes after the man reported the theft — Powell police spotted the truck and a passenger car driving into town side-by-side “at a high rate of speed,” the release said; Powell Police Sgt. Matt McCaslin said the truck was at one point clocked at 96 mph.
A Powell officer attempted to stop the driver of the stolen truck on U.S. Highway 14-A, but they fled and a chase began.
It lasted only a few minutes.
McCaslin said that, as the truck attempted to speed from North Ingalls Street onto Coulter Avenue (near Pizza Hut), it crashed into a patrol car driven by Officer Cody Bradley. The truck then crossed Coulter Avenue and went into the mostly empty Garland Canal.
Police found one woman in the truck, identified in jail records as 25-year-old Winter R. Killsnight. She was checked out at Powell Valley Hospital and later booked into the Park County Detention Center in Cody; Officer Bradley was also checked out at the emergency room as a precaution “and is doing well,” McCaslin said.
Police said Saturday afternoon that Killsnight was facing misdemeanor charges of interference with a peace officer and possessing a controlled substance. Later, authorities added a misdemeanor count of criminal trespassing and a felony count of stealing a motor vehicle valued at $1,000 or more, according to jail records; it was not clear which vehicle she is alleged to have stolen.
When the truck crashed into the canal, “we believed at the time that there was only one person in there,” McCaslin said. However, after reviewing video footage, police now believe “there was a second person — and that the other person was possibly the driver,” McCaslin said Saturday afternoon.
That suspect initially made a clean getaway. However, while troopers with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and police were working the scene of the crash, a trooper spotted the car that had been seen speeding alongside the stolen truck a couple hours earlier, McCaslin said.
The trooper tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver fled — with two troopers and a Powell police officer in pursuit. The car sped toward Cody on U.S. 14-A, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph, McCaslin said.
Cody police were notified around 6:15 a.m. that the chase was heading their way and they put down spike strips on the highway near Beacon Hill. About 8 minutes later, the car arrived in the area and hit the spike strips, which brought the vehicle to a stop in the 3500 block of Big Horn Avenue.
At that point, “the suspect(s) fled on foot in an unknown direction,” Harris said, and a search of the area failed to locate them. In addition to saying that the suspect or suspects “are not considered to be at large,” Harris said the case remained under investigation.
McCaslin said Saturday afternoon that he was “just glad that nobody’s injured.”
The stolen vehicles and the police department’s patrol car were not as fortunate. Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said Officer Bradley’s Dodge Charger was hit on the rear quarter panel on the driver’s side and “it resulted in the airbags deploying, so that creates significant damage just in itself.” Adding to the police department’s misfortune, the chief said the Charger was nearly brand new, having been purchased last summer.