A Wednesday chase that at times topped 100 mph ended in a crash that also brought a crime spree to an end, Delta County Sheriff’s Office officials said in court documents.
Raul Coronado-Gonzalez, 28, who was wanted on several warrants, was arrested Wednesday, along with a female companion, Natalie Svensson, 18.
According to his arrest affidavit, Coronado-Gonzalez had several run-ins with law enforcement prior to being detained; is suspected in burglaries and two motor vehicle thefts, and was deemed a public safety risk.
Deputies had been trying to locate and apprehend Coronado-Gonzalez on his warrants, but each time, he would flee, Undersheriff Quinn Archibeque said.
“As a general rule, we don’t chase for no reason,” he said.
But Wednesday, deputies overheard radio traffic that indicated Coronado-Gonzalez was at City Market in Delta. They rushed to the store, hoping to catch him before he could access a vehicle.
Upon arrival, Deputy Kenneth Taylor saw Svensson struggling with a man “over items she was trying to steal,” the affidavit states.
Svensson saw Taylor and another deputy enter the parking lot, dropped the items, and fled to a Mazda — the same one, Taylor said, that Coronado-Gonzalez had been driving when allegedly eluding other officers twice before earlier in the week.
Coronado-Gonzalez threw the Mazda into reverse and backed up so fast he nearly hit Taylor’s patrol unit, before taking off at a high speed, the affidavit says.
Taylor said Coronado-Gonzalez showed “absolutely no due regard” for other people on the road. “Raul was speeding past cars and almost caused multiple crashes while eluding me,” Taylor wrote, noting that on the Delta bypass, his patrol vehicle hit 85 mph in the 45 mph zone, yet the Mazda was putting distance between him and Coronado-Gonzalez.
Attempts by another deputy to take out the car’s tires with a spike strip device did not work; Coronado-Gonzalez reportedly drove onto Colorado 348 in the wrong lane of travel, crossing the double yellow lines.
“I will note my patrol vehicle was maxed out at a top speed of 106 mph,” thereby demonstrating Coronado-Gonzalez was going faster than that, in what by then was a 50 mph zone, the deputy wrote.
The pursuit continued down F Road, then onto Sundown Road, until a dead-end spiked off into several driveways. The Mazda zoomed down one of them, and onto a non-motorized trail. As another deputy prevented the car from entering other driveways and more law enforcement arrived, Taylor backed off.
But as he headed down the hill, he saw the car driving in a field before it vanished from his line of sight. Taylor pulled over and climbed a fence to try to spot the Mazda again.
He saw smoke coming up from the car, which Coronado-Gonzalez had crashed into an irrigation canal.
Taylor and Detective Matt Brew drew down on Coronado-Gonzalez and Svensson, who were detained, then taken to the hospital for medical clearance before being booked into jail.
“He’s become a pretty serious public safety issue,” Archibeque alleged. “We wanted him taken into custody (for the) public safety aspect of it. … We just needed to get to that point.”
Although the chase reached high rates of speed, it was well-managed by deputies, the undersheriff said.
Coronado-Gonzalez has several cases in Delta District Court, including an Oct. 3 case in which he is suspected of trespassing and misdemeanor assault.
The arrest affidavit in that case alleges Coronado-Gonzalez showed up with others at another man’s home as the man was preparing to leave, and punched him in the face.
The injured man told Delta Police Officer Thomas Barker that he only recognized Coronado-Gonzalez, but that Coronado-Gonzalez and four other people with him appeared to believe he had stolen some of their tools.
As the group drove off, someone in their vehicle fired three rounds into the air, the affidavit says.
Unable to locate Coronado-Gonzalez, Barker issued a “be on the lookout report” and sought a warrant.
According to Delta Combined Court records, Coronado-Gonzalez is accused in other cases of forgery as a habitual criminal and identity theft, as well as in a 2019 drug case.
Wednesday, he was booked into jail on suspicion of a slew of new offenses: eluding; driving while revoked; reckless driving; reckless endangerment; violation of bail conditions; resisting arrest; criminal mischief; obstructing government operations; speeding, and various traffic offenses.
Formal charges are pending.
“Raul has caused numerous citizens in Delta County to be victimized through burglaries where he and Natalie are the suspects. Raul has also stolen at least two motor vehicles from the citizens of Delta County and Montrose County,” Taylor wrote in Coronado-Gonzalez’s most recent arrest affidavit.
“Raul has proven he is a public safety risk to the citizens of Delta County and also law enforcement. (He has) eluded law enforcement numerous times through recent weeks and shows absolutely no regard for the safety of himself or others, placing everybody at risk of serious bodily injury.”
Svensson was held on an alleged probation violation and in connection with the Wednesday incident, the DCSO said.
“Additional charges are anticipated for both these individuals in the near future for other cases in Delta County,” the DCSO said in a news release.
The agency is asking people who have information about ” Coronado-Gonzalez or Svensson to call Delta County Crime Stoppers at 970-874-8810.