Cortez man in custody after high-speed chase

Keywords: Poll question,
The only damage to the patrol car was the lens over the headlight was broken out in a vehicle chase Tuesday. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

The only damage to the patrol car was the lens over the headlight was broken out in a vehicle chase Tuesday.

A 20-year-old Cortez resident was arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase Tuesday afternoon.

Anthony McCleskey is accused of reckless driving, felony eluding, reckless endangerment, driving a defective vehicle, failure to yield and an outstanding warrant.

Sgt. Matt Ozanic of the Colorado State Patrol said the incident began when law enforcement was notified of a driver operating a vehicle recklessly on Highway 160.

Officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle at 12:26 p.m. at the Mesa Verde National Park turnoff on Highway 160. Thatís when the driver took off toward Cortez.

Once entering Cortez, the driver turned right onto Highway 145 as officers in two patrol cars from the state patrol and one patrol car from the Montezuma County Sheriffís Office pursued the vehicle, Ozanic said.

Ozanic said McCleskey turned left onto Tucker Lane from Highway 145 where police did a tactical maneuver that involved hitting the vehicle on its rear side, causing it to spin out of control before coming to a stop.

Ozanic said the maneuver is called a tactical vehicle intervention and added once the spin is initiated two patrol vehicles move quickly to box in the suspectís car to prevent the car from taking off again.

Ozanic said the state patrol is the only law enforcement agency in Montezuma County that is trained to do this maneuver. Troopers are trained on using the tactic every three years, he said.

He also said before the tactical vehicle intervention is used, all variables are evaluated, which includes the speed of the suspectís vehicle and whether implementing the maneuver would be a danger to the public.

McCleskey and his passenger were taken into custody at 12:37 p.m. The female passenger was released after police determined she had nothing to do with the police chase.

The state patrol sergeant said police are still investigating why McCleskey fled from officers, but he did mention the man had warrants out for his arrest.

Ozanic said there were no injuries to law enforcement, the suspect or his passenger.

McCleskey is being held at the Montezuma County Jail on a bail amount of $2,500.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com

The chase suspect sits in the back of a patrol car Tuesday after being caught by the Colorado State Patrol. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

The chase suspect sits in the back of a patrol car Tuesday after being caught by the Colorado State Patrol.

Colorado State Patrol and county sheriff vehicles participated in the chase Tuesday that ended on Tucker Lane. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Colorado State Patrol and county sheriff vehicles participated in the chase Tuesday that ended on Tucker Lane.

A patrol car spun the suspect vehicle around, denting the side but doing very little damage to the patrol car. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

A patrol car spun the suspect vehicle around, denting the side but doing very little damage to the patrol car.