Woman accused of driving stolen car in high-speed police chase pleads guilty to 2 felonies

Woman says she was forced to take drugs

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - A woman accused of interfering in a high-speed police chase in January pled guilty to two felonies Monday.

Bridgette Sandoval, 28, pled guilty to aggravated motor vehicle theft and vehicular eluding in a Jefferson County court. She admitted stealing a Chevrolet Impala in Waco, Texas and driving it during a high-speed chase in Colorado that also involved a man driving a stolen BMW.

Sandoval is due to be sentenced June 3.

The events surrounding Sandoval’s arrest began on Jan. 15, when a silver BMW was reported stolen in Silverthorne.

Colorado State Patrol officers near Georgetown spotted the BMW and began to follow it at speeds approaching 110 miles per hour. Officers then saw an Impala pull in behind the BMW, following closely, according to an affidavit filed in January.

Sandoval was later identified as the driver of the Impala, according to the affidavit.

Troopers made several attempts to stop the cars as they were recklessly weaving in and out of I-70 traffic.

The troopers pursued the cars for about 10 miles before deciding the chase was too dangerous and calling it off. The two cars continued at speeds topping 100 miles per hour, sometimes while traveling in 55 mile-per-hour zones.

The affidavit says that a trooper 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 a 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 affidavit, a building janitor told Andrews the woman had taken his coveralls, broom, dust pan and apron from the janitor's closet.

The affidavit also said that officers spoke to Sandoval after her arrest. She said that someone had forced her to take drugs over the previous four days and she 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.

Colorado authorities say the car Sandoval crashed was stolen in Waco.

Christopher Villa, who was allegedly driving the BMW, was arrested two weeks later in Waco after 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, later identified as Villa, 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."