Insanity plea entered in high-speed chase case in Clear Creek County
Shelby Figueroa was scheduled to appear Monday, June 2, for a review hearing in Clear Creek County District Court, but the hearing was postponed.
Figueroa, 20, recently entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity stemming from a September 2012 incident, in which she allegedly stole a Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office cruiser and led law enforcement officers on a 25-mile-long high-speed chase that ultimately ended in a violent crash near Frisco. Figueroa was initially placed into custody for allegedly driving too slowly on westbound Interstate 70. She later tested positive for cocaine and alcohol.
Figueroa is charged in district court with one count each of first-degree assault with extreme indifference, a Class 3 felony; second-degree assault on a peace officer, a Class 3 felony; aggravated motor vehicle theft, a Class 4 felony; and vehicular eluding, a Class 5 felony. Figueroa also faces charges of resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer, both misdemeanors, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and reckless driving, both traffic infractions.
The charges, filed by the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, also contain several crime of violence sentencing enhancers.
At just about 10 p.m. Sept. 23, 2012, Figueroa, then 18, was reportedly traveling at about 1 to 2 miles per hour in one of the westbound lanes of I-70 at milepost 225 near Silver Plume. According to the warrantless arrest affidavit filed at the time, Figueroa’s extreme slow rate of speed was causing other motorists, traveling at the posted 65 mph limit, to swerve to avoid a collision.
Deputies in the area attempted to pull Figueroa’s red 2000 Ford over, but it continued to travel along the right shoulder for several minutes at about the same rate of speed, records stated. When Figueroa finally did come to a stop, the Ford rolled back and hit the front of the deputy’s cruiser.
Figueroa reportedly would not respond to initial questioning when first approached by deputies. Then, she suddenly opened the car door and tried to walk into I-70 traffic, records stated.
Deputies tried to keep her from walking into oncoming traffic, but she resisted, records stated. She was then taken into custody and placed in the rear of the sheriff’s office cruiser, a Ford Excursion.
Backup deputies soon arrived on the scene and began conducting an inventory of the vehicle prior to having it towed off the highway. While deputies searched the vehicle, the Excursion pulled onto I-70 and started driving away. Figueroa was behind the wheel, according to records.
Figueroa reportedly was able to slip one handcuff off her wrist, climb through an open partition of the police cage and get into the driver’s seat of the Excursion, where the keys had been left, according to police reports.
Law enforcement officers with the sheriff’s office and Colorado State Patrol immediately pursued the Excursion. Between Silver Plume and the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel, officers tried to disable it with stop sticks and by employing pursuit intervention techniques to get the Excursion to spin out and crash.
After three failed attempts, Figueroa accelerated to an estimated 95 mph as she traveled through the tunnel and down the hill toward Silverthorne. Law enforcement officers from Summit County joined the chase and assisted in surrounding the stolen cruiser as it neared the bottom of the hill.
At milepost 201 near Silverthorne, Figueroa allegedly attempted to push one of the pursuing officers off the highway, according to records. Law enforcement officers resumed attempts to disable the Excursion, finally bringing the chase to a violent end at milepost 200 near Frisco.
Figueroa was ejected from the Excursion as it rolled several times during the crash, records stated. She was placed into custody and taken to an unspecified hospital for her injuries. While at the hospital, a blood test was conducted showing Figueroa had alcohol and cocaine in her system, records stated.
Figueroa is scheduled to return at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11, for a review hearing in district court in Georgetown.
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