CASPER, Wyo. — A Thermopolis man was arrested in Casper over the weekend, and is accused of fleeing police through a restaurant parking lot, while driving a stolen vehicle.
Christian Rowdy Peek, born in 1996, was arrested on July 17, 2020. At his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Monday he was charged with felony Theft, misdemeanor Eluding, and misdemeanor Reckless Driving.
Documents filed in Natrona County Circuit Court say that Casper Police officers were on patrol at approximately 4:11 pm, Friday near the area of East 2nd Street and Landmark Drive. Police say that they observed a vehicle rolling through a red traffic light at an estimated 8 mph, failing to maintain a lane while doing so, before continuing on.
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Officers write that they attempted to stop the vehicle using overhead patrol car lights, when the vehicle pulled into the parking lot of Casper’s Pizza Ranch restaurant, on East 2nd, and then sped away from officers, circling the parking lot.
The suspect vehicle the was said to exit the parking lot and run a stop sign, crossing East 2nd Street at an estimated speed of 30 mph.
“[Officers] observed that the vehicle narrowly miss hitting 3 vehicles on 2nd Street and in the driveway to the shopping center on the north side of the road,” the police affidavit says. “[The pursuing officer] turned off his lights and siren and did not attempt to follow across 2nd Street.”
Despite not chasing the suspect, witnesses in the area reported to police that they had seen where the suspect had gone, indicating that the fleeing vehicle was parked in a nearby parking lot and the driver had fled the area on foot.
It is reported that the suspect, ultimately identified as Peek, was taken into custody in Evansville, near the area of Lathrop Road, by the Evansville PD. Nearby, Casper Police officers found the suspect vehicle, unattended, in an East 2nd Street parking lot. The engine was reportedly still running.
The affidavit says that during questioning, Peek claimed that he had been hanging out with another individual, when the pair were harassed by multiple others, whom Peek alleged were trying to start a fight. Peek reportedly told officers that the individual he had been with threw him the keys to the vehicle and told him to leave.
Officers say that Peek was unable to identify the individual who had given him the car.
Several hours later on Friday evening, a report was made of a vehicle being taken from an address on East Yellowstone Highway. The keys had been left in the vehicle, but the owner told officers they had not given anyone permission to take or drive the vehicle. The vehicle was identified as the one having been driven by Peek, earlier in the day.
Peek was subsequently arrested and transported to the Natrona County Detention Center without further reported incident.
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.