Highway patrol vehicles were damaged and spike-strips where deployed to help end a high speed chase near Casper, after the suspect fled on a closed interstate, during a severe blizzard.
The suspect is accused of causing severe damage to Highway Patrol vehicles during the chase.
According to an affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court, Randy Duran, age 27, was arrested in Natrona County during the evening hours of March 13th. Duran faces recommended charges including Aggravated Assault and Battery, Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer, Property Destruction, Reckless Endangerment, Eluding a Police Officer, and Possession of Marijuana.
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Wyoming Highway Patrol officials say that just after 4:00 pm, Wednesday, a trooper was parked near milepost 181 of Interstate 25, in Natrona County. The trooper said that the interstate was closed due to a severe blizzard in the area at the time.
The affidavit says that a white truck approached the trooper, southbound on I-25. The trooper reported turning on their emergency lights and pulling the vehicle over. The trooper made contact with the driver, who was eventually identified as Duran, but the affidavit says that Duran gave the Highway Patrol an incorrect name, initially.
Duran reportedly could not produce a driver’s license for the Highway Patrol, and the suspect was asked to join the trooper inside a patrol vehicle, while the trooper verified the suspect’s information.
The affidavit says that Duran was seated in the passenger seat of the patrol vehicle, and troopers were still unable to confirm his identity.
The suspect then exited the patrol vehicle and approached his own vehicle.
The trooper reported that as he was getting out to join the suspect, Duran’s pace quickened as he ran to his own truck, got in, and began to flee the area.
“We were on the closed southbound side of Interstate 25,” the trooper writes in the affidavit. “I had previously instructed him to turn around so that he could go back up the exit ramp into Casper, since I-25 was impassable and there was nowhere else to turn around.”
When the suspect was reported to flee, however, the affidavit describes Duran as going northbound, taking the “on-ramp” for 182 southbound as his exit, crossed over the interstate, and continued northbound on I-25 toward Casper.
WHP officials say they pursued the vehicle until the suspect was said to have exited at McKinley Street, where the chase was discontinued. The troopers citing safety concerns for breaking off the chase.
Troopers then observed that the vehicle re-entered I-25 at the next on-ramp, where the chase was picked up, again.
The affidavit says that troopers attempted to spike-strip the vehicle near the 189 cross-over. This attempt was thwarted, however, when trooper say that the suspect truck moved in behind a citizen in another pickup, following the citizen at close range until the trooper with the spike strip was passed.
The suspect vehicle the reportedly passed the citizen on the right and continued on I-25.
Near milepost 197 of I-25, the suspect vehicle was said to encounter a road closure gate. The gate was closed, with flashing warning lights. The suspect vehicle circumnavigated the gate, and continued to flee Northbound on I-25.
Troopers describe the weather conditions at the time as “deteriorating quickly” with blowing snow obscuring visibility and creating drifts. The affidavit says that Duran’s vehicle was estimated to reach speeds of 100 mph, before taking exit 210 onto Wyoming Highway 259.
The suspect was described as continuing northbound on Highway 259, towards the community of Midwest.
Troopers say that they feared injury to uninvolved parties in the Midwest area, so they attempted a “Tactical Vehicle Intervention” on the passenger side of the suspect vehicle. The attempt was unsuccessful and caused the Wyoming Highway Patrol Vehicle to become lodged on the suspect vehicle.
The trooper reports that they were unable to break away from Duran’s truck, but said that Duran “slowly and purposely” moved the truck to the right shoulder, causing the WHP vehicle to be dragged along the ditch, hitting delineator posts and other objects on the roadway’s shoulder.
The affidavit says the WHP vehicle struck 6 delineator posts, and the suspect dragged the WHP vehicle for nearly a minute.
Another trooper in a patrol SUV then reportedly rammed Duran’s vehicle on the driver’s side, which caused the attached WHP vehicle to dislodge, but disabled the striking SUV.
The chase continued northeast on Wyoming Highway 259, when a deputy was able to successfully deploy spike strips, and the suspect lost both tires within a few miles.
Despite this, the suspect vehicle was said to continue on Wyoming Highway 259, near the junction of Wyoming 387. At this time, troopers estimate that Duran was travelling at approximately 75 mph in a 45 mph zone.
The chase continued northbound on Wyoming Highway 387, from milepost 100 back to the area of I-25, and eventually onto County Road 115, westbound.
Troopers attempted another Tactical Vehicle Intervention, which was again unsuccessful, and caused the trooper to lose control and go off the roadway. Fearing the Highway Patrol vehicle damaged, the trooper exited his patrol vehicle and entered as a passenger in a nearby Sheriff’s patrol vehicle.
The chase continued on the gravel road, with the suspect crashing through a gate marked “no trespassing” and continued. Duran’s vehicle eventually was reported to have become stuck in a snow drift.
Upon becoming stuck, troopers say that Duran exited the vehicle and attempted to run. However, due to snow and wind, the suspect was said to have only made it approximately 10 feet from the vehicle, before raising his hands and surrendering.
Troopers say that Duran was taken into custody and repeatedly apologized for running.
An inventory of the vehicle by law enforcement found two canisters containing suspected marijuana, as well as a suspected marijuana pipe. Investigators also found a wallet in the vehicle, containing identification for Duran, confirming the suspect’s identity.
The affidavit says that Duran had warrants from the state of California, for fleeing law enforcement.
An investigation found that Duran had last been seen by co-workers just after midnight on March 13th in the Cody, Wyoming area.
Duran was transported by Sheriff’s deputies to the Natrona County Detention Center.
All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.