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Man arrested after allegedly stealing car, fleeing from authorities into Rocky Mountain National Park

Woman dies after 500-foot fall in Rocky Mountain National Park
Posted at 11:22 AM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 17:16:41-05

ESTES PARK, Colo. — A 21-year-old man was arrested after he allegedly stole a vehicle and drove it into Rocky Mountain National Park while fleeing from authorities.

Around 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, multiple people reported an allegedly drunk driver traveling erratically along U.S. Highway 36 headed toward Estes Park. The reports described the vehicle as a GMC Yukon. Callers said the driver was swerving, passing illegally and did not have its headlights on.

An officer with the Estes Park Police Department, as well as a deputy with the Larimer County Sheriff's Officer, located the vehicle just outside of town and tried to stop it, but the driver refused to pull over. The authorities followed the driver into Rocky Mountain National Park. With help from park rangers, law enforcement stopped the vehicle with a precision immobilization technique maneuver and the driver was taken into custody.

He was identified as Damien Martinez, 21.

Denver 7+ Colorado News Latest Headlines | January 26, 8am

When law enforcement searched the vehicle, they found suspected narcotics. They also determined the vehicle had been stolen.

Martinez was arrested on the following charges:

  • Second-degree motor vehicle theft
  • Vehicular eluding
  • Unlawful possession of Schedule I/II drug - methamphetamine
  • Unlawful possession of fentanyl
  • Reckless driving
  • Drove motor vehicle when license under restraint
  • Drove motor vehicle when under the influence of drugs

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