Vehicle pursuit in Fort Collins leads to 1 arrest, hourslong closure of Horsetooth Road

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A pursuit by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office led to one arrest and a more than three-hour road closure of West Horsetooth Road on Saturday. 

The pursuit began after investigators with the sheriff’s office’s found a stolen vehicle in a parking lot at the intersection of West Elizabeth Street and South Taft Hill Road around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a Sunday news release. 

The sheriff’s office said four people were inside the vehicle, and investigators followed it as it was driven to the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Hobbit Street, which is near the intersection of Shields Street and Prospect Road. 

Deputies turned on their emergency lights and used their vehicles to make contact with the stolen vehicle’s front and rear bumpers. The technique, known as a vehicle pinch maneuver, is intended to keep a suspect from escaping and avoid a vehicle pursuit, according to the news release. 

However, the driver of the stolen vehicle reversed the car into a patrol vehicle and almost ran over a deputy before driving forward into another patrol vehicle and driving over a retaining wall and onto the street, the sheriff’s office said.

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Deputies initially went after the vehicle but “immediately terminated the pursuit because of the erratic driving of the suspect,” according to the release.

When they pursued the vehicle again after it was seen “a short time later,” the man drove it toward two sheriff’s office vehicles, almost hitting them head on, the sheriff’s office said. A deputy was able to stop the vehicle by using a precision immobilization technique, known as a PIT maneuver, and it rolled over and crashed near the intersection of West Horsetooth Road and Goodell Lane.

The driver of the vehicle was ejected and ran away on foot into a field, and deputies located the suspect, identified as Joshua Joseph Rendon, in the backyard of a residence.

Rendon, 29, was taken into custody and then taken to an area hospital to get treatment for minor injuries sustained in the crash, the sheriff’s office said. The sheriff’s office identified Rendon as a transient in the Fort Collins area. 

He will be booked into Larimer County Jail on the following allegations after he is released from the hospital: attempted first-degree murder of a peace office, a Class 2 felony; attempted second-degree assault on a peace officer, aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding and criminal mischief, all Class 5 felonies; theft of motor vehicle parts and criminal possession of an identification document, both Class 1 misdemeanors; resisting arrest, a Class 2 misdemeanor; second-degree criminal trespass and reckless endangerment, both Class 3 misdemeanors; as well as driving under suspension and driving without a seat belt.

Online jail records did not list Rendon as an inmate as of 3:45 p.m. Sunday.

Though investigators saw four people in the vehicle when they first located it, only one other person was in the vehicle with Rendon when it crashed, according to the release. The adult man, who was not arrested, was taken to an area hospital for minor injuries. The man said the car’s other two occupants were dropped off after Rendon evaded deputies at the Hobbit Street apartment complex.

Because of the crash investigation, West Horsetooth Road was closed between South Taft Hill Road and Seneca Street for approximately 3½ hours on Saturday. 

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All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court. Arrests and charges are merely accusations by law enforcement until, and unless, a suspect is convicted of a crime.

Sarah Kyle is a content coach at the Coloradoan. Contact her at sarahkyle@coloradoan.com. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.