Man Pleads Guilty to Wrecking Wyoming Patrol Car in High-speed Chase
A Colorado man faces up to six years in prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday to aggravated assault and misdemeanor property destruction that occurred during a high-speed chase in a snowstorm in March.
Randy Duran, 27, pleaded guilty to those two counts during a hearing before Natrona County District Court Judge Kerri Johnson.
In exchange for the plea, Duran's public defender Marty Scott and Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer agreed he would serve no more than six years in prison. They also agreed to dismiss counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, felony property destruction, misdemeanor reckless endangerment, misdemeanor eluding a police officer, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Duran agreed to pay restitution to the Wyoming Highway Patrol for the damage to a vehicle and to pay for a damaged gate.
Duran remains in custody on a $10,000 bond.
Scott asked Johnson to sentence Duran immediately after his plea, saying he faces charges in Colorado.
The judge denied the request, saying she wants to see a presentence report first. She is not obligated to abide by the terms of the plea agreement, and a sentencing date will be set later.
However, a reporter questioned the propriety of the plea.
The criminal information document said the crimes occurred on March 9, and that's what Duran pleaded guilty to after questioned by Johnson.
But the affidavit supporting the charging document detailed how the chase occurred on March 13.
Johnson, Schafer and Scott said that discrepancy can be corrected at sentencing.
The case started about 4 p.m. on March 13 when Interstate 25 was closed because of a record-setting snowstorm.
A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper was parked near the southbound Interstate 25 Hat Six Road exit when Duran drove by. The trooper activated his lights, stopped Duran, asked for identification and Duran gave him the name of his work supervisor adding that this license was suspended in Colorado for failure to pay child support.
The trooper asked Duran to get in his patrol car and told him he'd go to jail if he didn't identify himself. Duran left the patrol car, returned to his truck and sped away and drove at speeds approaching 100 mph.
Duran exited at McKinley Street, re-entered I-25, and drove north to Wyoming Highway 259 that leads to Midwest.
A trooper attempted to end the pursuit by forcing his car into Duran's truck, but Duran drove into the patrol vehicle. The two vehicles were stuck together, and Duran dragged the patrol car in a ditch, forcing it to knock over delineator posts.
Another trooper drove his vehicle into Duran's vehicle, which caused the first trooper's vehicle to dislodge.
The pursuit continued north on Highway 259 a few more miles before a Natrona County Sheriff's deputy successfully deployed spike strips.
Despite losing his front tires, Duran was able to drive at 75 mph on Wyoming Highway 387 west, crossed I-25, and continued on County Road 115 where he rammed through a large metal gate.
His truck got stuck in a snow drift. He got out, ran about 10 feet before surrendering.
After being taken into custody, he repeatedly apologized for fleeing.