JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - The story of a woman involving herself in a pursuit where police were chasing a stolen vehicle was bizarre when it happened two weeks ago, but the investigation has uncovered several other strange twists.
The series began on Jan. 15, when a silver BMW was reported stolen in Summit County. Christopher Villa, who was allegedly driving the BMW, was arrested two weeks later in Waco, Texas.
"CSP dispatch issued a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for the stolen car," Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Mike Baker said on Jan. 15. "A trooper on routine patrol spotted the BMW and a grey Chevy Impala traveling at high speed in the Dumont area."
According to an affidavit, a trooper recognized the BMW and began to follow it at speeds approaching 110 miles per hour. Trooper Andrews wrote in the document that he noticed a Chevrolet Impala was following closely behind the BMW.
The driver of that Impala would later be identified as Bridgette Sandoval, according to the affidavit. It is unclear at this point if it is a coincidence that she was driving a car reported stolen in Waco, Texas.
Several troopers pursued the pair of cars for about ten miles before deciding the chase was too dangerous. Trooper Andrews writes that he heard over the radio about the Impala crashing about 8 miles away from where the chase ended.
The Impala had crashed into a fence at the Denver West exit from I-70 and Sandoval ran into the nearby building at 1707 Cole Blvd., the affidavit said. Andrews described hearing a fire alarm and seeing a crowd of people exiting the building when he arrived.
Several witnesses told the trooper that a woman had run into a bathroom, while another witness saw her pull the fire alarm.
When Sandoval was taken into custody and identified by witnesses as the driver of the Impala, she had donned a pair of coveralls that were not hers. According to the document, the janitor told Andrews the woman had taken his coveralls, broom, dust pan and apron from the janitor's closet.
Trooper Andrews also wrote about speaking to Sandoval after her arrest. She said that she had been forced to take drugs by people over the previous four days and was last injected on the morning before the chase and crash.
"She stated someone, 'put me in a car and told me to drive… run and don’t stop,'" the affidavit said.
On Monday, authorities in central Texas received a report of a theft at a Walmart store.
“The individual stole some stereo equipment,” said Sgt. Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department. “Witnesses told us that as the suspect was leaving the store, he got into what is now known to be a black, spray-painted BMW and fled the scene.”
Swanton told 7NEWS that the suspected thief eluded police during a short chase.
He said investigators later learned that the BMW ended up parked in a residential area.
“Officers responded to the scene,” Swanton said. “They surrounded the house and took the man into custody.”
Authorities identified the driver as Christopher Villa.
“He gave us a false identification last night,” Swanton said. “But we believe we’ve got it sorted out now.”
When asked if police believe Villa might be involved in a large auto theft ring, Swanton replied, “I don’t have any indication at this point that it was part of a larger theft ring. Initial reports are that he was just able to steal the car there, and it was a crime of opportunity if you will, and he came down this way.”
Swanton said he’s not sure of the link between Villa and Sandoval.
Colorado authorities say the car Sandoval crashed was stolen in Waco.