Three people nabbed after high-speed car chase

Sheriff’s Office: Driver reached speeds of more than 100 mph

A high-speed chase ended Tuesday in La Plata County with the arrest of three people.

The sequence of events got started at 1:04 p.m. when a deputy with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a driver in a black van for speeding on Colorado Highway 140, south of Hesperus.

The driver, traveling southbound, tried to avoid contact by hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph, according to a news release Wednesday from the Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy stopped the pursuit when it reached 100 mph for safety but continued to follow the vehicle while notifying other area police agencies.

The van’s driver drove into the back of a white van in the 14000 block of Highway 140. The deputy stopped to offer assistance to three occupants, but all three declined medical transport.

The motorist in the black van drove away from the scene.

For the next 1½ hours, officers with the Sheriff’s Office, Southern Ute Indian Police Department and Southern Ute Rangers searched for the black van.

At 2:45 p.m., someone reported a suspicious vehicle with significant front-end damage on a dirt road beyond the end of County Road 130, west of Kline.

Deputies spotted three people on foot walking away from the van.

Two of them were arrested: Jeffrey Cuthair, 26, of Cortez, and Lakota Rabbit, 24, of Towaoc.

The third person, later identified as Sheldon Begay, 23, of Cortez, fled on foot across an open field.

After a brief standoff, Begay was arrested. Begay admitted to driving the black van during the pursuit and crashing into the white van. An officer with the Southern Ute Police Department was also injured in the melee.

Because all three are Native American and the incident took place on reservation lands, the case was turned over to the Southern Ute Indian Police Department.

shane@durangoherald.com