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Vehicle that fled police before fatal crash tied to shooting investigation days earlier

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — The vehicle that fled police before crashing in downtown Casper on Tuesday morning was suspected to have been involved in two violent firearm offenses on Sunday, May 21, according to the Casper Police Department.

One of the vehicle’s occupants was pronounced dead on the scene. The other three were transported to Banner Wyoming Medical Center “with varying degrees of personal injury,” police said.

Police dashcam footage screened for the press Tuesday afternoon shows the event from the time the patrol unit identified the suspect vehicle in east Casper until the crash a short time later.

“In my opinion this video conclusively shows the reasonable attempts of officers to resolve this safely, and the suspect exercising the choice to do something different,” Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters said during the press conference.

According to a release Tuesday afternoon, occupants of the suspect vehicle fired multiple gunshots at victims in residential areas of Casper in two separate but related incidents on Sunday.

The suspect vehicle was spotted shortly before 2 a.m. near the intersection of Southeast Wyoming Boulevard and Blackmore Road by a patrol vehicle, police said.

Knowing the vehicle’s relationship to the gunfire investigation, the officer tailed the suspect vehicle as it headed north and then east onto 2nd Street, McPheeters explained as the video rolled.

McPheeters remarked that the driver of the suspect vehicle, with police following, traveled well below the speed limit and used turn signals readily.

At this time, McPheeters said other units closer to downtown were coordinating with the tailing officer to make a safe stop, arranging further to deploy stop-strips in case the vehicle fled.

The video had no audio, and McPheeters said they were working to sync the audio to the video so these communications could be heard.

In the video, an eastbound patrol unit with lights activated appeared near the Beverly Street intersection, at which time the suspect vehicle accelerated through a red light. An SUV on Beverly Street, the only other vehicle on the deserted streets, was forced to yield, McPheeters said.

Another CPD unit is shortly thereafter seen just east of the McKinley Street intersection, where McPheeters said the stop strips were deployed. McPheeters said these are designed to slowly deflate tires and prevent a sudden loss of control.

The dashcam display shows the officer reaching 90 mph while the suspect vehicle continues to accelerate and recede into the distance toward downtown.

When the officer reaches the intersection with Durbin street, a concrete planter is seen having been heavily damaged by impact. Dust hangs in the streetlights, and debris is seen strewn on the roadway for an entire city block before the officer comes upon the suspect vehicle upside down at the intersection with South Wolcott Street.

McPheeters said the the vehicle reached “patently unreasonable” speeds before the crash. The release also notes that the curving streets downtown were designed for pedestrians as well as vehicles.

29-year-old Casper resident Adonis Lee Little Dog was identified as the deceased by the coroner’s office. McPheeters did not say whether he was the driver or a passenger, not did he comment on the other passengers’ relationships to the shooting investigation.

McPheeters said more details would be released as the investigation continued.

The crash remains under investigation with the cooperation of the Wyoming Highway Patrol.