Man arrested in Steamboat II after police pursuit
This story was updated on Thursday, March 26.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A California man was arrested in the Steamboat II neighborhood Wednesday morning following a pursuit with local law enforcement.
Sang Hoon Ok, 44, was charged with first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding — both felonies — and reckless driving, a misdemeanor, according to a news release from the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
At approximately 8:30 a.m., police received a report of a truck that was stolen from Curve Plaza on the west side of the city. Officers located the vehicle driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 40 toward Rabbit Ears Pass.
Police turned on their emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver did not pull over, according to the news release. The truck continued eastbound along U.S. 40. When the vehicle passed city limits, police stopped their pursuit and contacted the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies located the vehicle, this time traveling westbound along U.S. 40. They also tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver again refused to yield.
Police assisted deputies in setting up traffic controls to avoid any crashes with civilian vehicles during the pursuit, according to Commander Annette Dopplick. She managed traffic near Snow Bowl Plaza.
The driver then turned into the Steamboat II neighborhood and drove through the streets. One resident, Mark McNeal, said his 9-year-old daughter was almost hit by the driver as he fled law enforcement.
Sheriff’s Office deputies eventually apprehended the driver along Galley Road in the Steamboat II neighborhood, according to Sgt. Rich Brown. Ok was taken into custody without further incident.
Police have had multiple contacts with Ok in the last week, Commander Dopplick said. The man appears to be homeless and has been stuck in Steamboat with limited supplies.
The truck he stole was left unlocked and idling in the Curve Plaza parking lot, according to Dopplick. The incident stands as a reminder for people to keep their vehicles locked and secure their valuables.
“It is tempting to leave your car running, whether to let it warm up or run a quick errand inside, but it does create an opportunity for theft,” Dopplick said in the news release.
Dopplick said the coordinated response exhibited effective collaboration between the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office.
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