Man arrested in Denver tractor chase faces 23 charges, including for wrong-way I-25 crash

DENVER – Thomas Busch, the man accused of stealing a tractor and leading police on a chase through downtown Denver, faces new charges for other crimes he’s accused of committing the night of the chase, including a wrong-way hit-and-run crash that severely injured a man on I-25.

Busch, 37, now faces 23 charges stemming from his alleged crime spree on July 20. The Denver District Attorney’s Office released a timeline of his alleged crimes Friday.

Busch made his first court appearance Tuesday but had yet to be charged, as police said they were still investigating other incidents he might have been involved in that night. He had been held on a $50,000 bond in the case.

The formal charges, filed Thursday, include aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular assault and leaving the scene of an accident, among a host of other felonies, misdemeanors and traffic infractions.

The timeline from police and the district attorney’s office says Busch’s spree started in Lakewood around 5:20 p.m. last Friday.

There, he stole a vehicle after menacing the driver. About 20 minutes later, he dumped the stolen car and stole a tow truck, then got into a hit-and-run crash with a Subaru in the 700 lock of Water St.

Minute later, he got onto the northbound lanes of I-25 heading in the wrong direction and got into a head-on crash with a driver near Mulberry Place, then fled on foot. Chase Fregosi suffered a shattered leg and left arm in that crash and has had to undergo multiple surgeries.

About an hour later, police say Busch got into the Denver Water facility at 1600 W. 12th Ave. and stole the tractor, then headed toward a construction site near 9th Ave. and Colorado Blvd., where he broke into a construction site and tried to steal a 20-ton front loader.

But he left in the tractor, got into another hit-and-run crash near 11th Ave. and Colorado Blvd., then got onto the City Park golf course project. There, according to police, he tried to steal a truck and break into a trailer before police arrived, at which point he started fleeing from them in the tractor.

Shortly after 8:45 p.m. that evening, he drove through a fence at Manual High School to avoid police after nearly hitting a pedestrian. And shortly after 9 p.m., near 15th Ave. and Market Street in downtown Denver, police rammed the tractor to disable it and take Busch into custody.

But the police deadline says that while Busch was allegedly resisting arrest, he both bit and choked the K-9 brought in to help arrest him after two tasers that were used proved ineffective. He was eventually arrested and taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries.

Busch opted to represent himself in court earlier this week and told the judge he has PTSD and has been off his medication.

Busch is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning for his second advisement.

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