Speedy pursuit on an otherwise peaceful holiday

Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

It was a quiet New Year's holiday in Del Norte County.

Five people were booked into the Del Norte County Jail overnight, with the most serious offender having allegedly led authorities on a chase down U.S. Highway 101, said sheriff's Commander Bill Steven.

At around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, a sheriff's deputy attempted to pull over a vehicle that was driving recklessly on Elk Valley Road near National Boulevard, Steven said.

The driver ignored the deputy's siren and continued to drive toward the highway, Steven said.

Once reaching the highway, the driver headed south, leading the deputy on a pursuit that reached up to 120 mph around blind corners, Steven said.

The driver sped up Crescent Hill, but quickly decided to whip back around toward Crescent City, Steven said.

The move allowed other deputies to lay spikes along the highway that eventually stopped the vehicle, Steven said.

The pursuit lasted almost seven miles, Steven said.

The driver, identified as Eugene F. Colegrove III, 38, of Hoopa, was arrested on suspicion of committing a litany of offenses, including providing no proof of insurance, no registration on vehicle, driving under the influence, evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for safety, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

On New Year's Eve at around 4 p.m., fire crews responded to a vehicle fire on U.S. Highway 101 south of Mill Creek Road, Steven said.

By the time engines arrived, the 2003 Volkswagen Jetta was fully engulfed, Steven said.

The driver and two females had been driving from Idaho to California, then south along the coast, Steven said.

They had just purchased the Jetta in Medford after a vehicle they were driving had become inoperable, Steven said.

The travellers were able to remove most of their belongings before the Jetta burned, Steven said.

Reach Anthony Skeens at askeens@triplicate.com .

14081003
The Del Norte Triplicate
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