Casper Police Department Shows Video of High-Speed Chase
Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters. Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
(Some of the information in this article updates previous stories today about the fatal high-speed chase that ended in a crash in downtown Casper early Tuesday morning.)
Tuesday afternoon, the Casper Police Department conducted a news conference about the fatal high-speed chase that ended downtown early Tuesday morning.
Department spokeswoman Amber Freestone said the news conference is part of an ongoing effort to make the department more transparent to the public.
During the news conference, the department showed video taken from the patrol car that followed the suspect vehicle as it reached speeds of 90 mph, entered downtown, hit a concrete planter, flipped and crashed at East Second and Wolcott Durbin streets.
Media were not permitted to record the video.
The crash claimed the life of 29-year-old Adonis Lee Little Dog of Casper, according to a press release from Natrona County Coroner James Whipps.
McPheeters did not divulge details about the ongoing criminal investigation, nor the names of the three other vehicle's occupants who were hospitalized after the crash.
However, a press release issued after the news conference said police had been looking for a vehicle connected to two separate but related violent felonies during which the occupants fired multiple gunshots at their victims in residential areas on Sunday. The bullets hit a victim's vehicle and other cars, houses and apartments. The press release did not identify these residential areas.
The video of the chase did not include audio, so McPheeters narrated.
Casper Police had been looking for the suspect vehicle for a couple of days since the shootings.
Shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, an officer saw it traveling northbound on Southeastern Wyoming Boulevard, and that's when the video recording began.
The driver of the vehicle apparently noticed the patrol car and slowed from 40 mph to about 26 mph on Wyoming Boulevard, McPheeters said. "That would attract the attention of a police officer," McPheeters said.
The car, a VW Jetta, turned left on East Second Street.
Meanwhile, the officer in the patrol car notified other officers who began positioning themselves along East Second Street to conduct a safe traffic stop, McPheeters said.
"Everything that transpires after that is 100% in control of the driver of that vehicle," he said. "From that point onwards, the Police Department has done their job; we've done everything we can prepare for, for this situation. The choices that were made in that vehicle relies heavily on the person making those decisions."
During the chase, the suspect vehicle mostly kept to the speed limit, signaled to move into the left lane, applied the brakes occasionally, ran a red light and nearly hit another passenger vehicle, McPheeters said.
Near Beverly Street, an officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the vehicle driver didn't stop.
The pursuing officer then activated his emergency lights.
Near the intersection with South McKinley Street, an officer laid down Stop Sticks, which are designed to slowly deflate tires and not cause an immediate stop, he said.
However, the driver made no attempt to slow, and began accelerating to one point where the patrol car driver nearly lost sight of him, McPheeters said. "The offending vehicle is pretty much leaving us in the dust."
Speeds reached about 90 mph.
As the patrol car drew closer to downtown and entered the serpentine area of East Second Street, the officer saw the suspect vehicle had hit a concrete planter at Durbin Street and had to steer around the debris littering the street to where the vehicle crashed.
The crash is under investigation by the Wyoming Highway Patrol, McPheeters said.
"This was patently hazardous, patently dangerous for our citizens and for all persons involved," he said. "But those decisions to make that happen were 100% were resting on the driver of that vehicle."