A man who was suspected in a car theft was arrested Saturday afternoon outside Mancos after leading officers from multiple law enforcement agencies on a chase that began after he fled officers in San Juan County, New Mexico.
According to Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin, a man identified as James Ripinski, 42, was arrested about 4:45 p.m. outside Mancos after abandoning a 2010 Honda CRV with New Mexico registration at a residence at 339 E. Grand Ave. in Mancos and fleeing on foot.
He was arrested without incident, Nowlin said.
According to La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith, the pursuit initially began before noon when a man and a woman fled officers during a traffic stop in San Juan County, New Mexico.
Although details remained unclear Saturday evening, at some point, the couple picked up a second vehicle and fled “in tandem,” Smith said.
La Plata County deputies began pursuing the woman, identified as Courtnie Ann Lykans, on La Plata Highway (Colorado Highway 140) in a blue Honda CRV about 11:40 a.m., Nowlin said. She was arrested. Her name was not immediately available.
Deputies also pursued Ripinski as he fled in a Honda Pilot west on U.S. Highway 160, Nowlin said.
The Mancos Marshal’s Office picked up the search and followed Ripinski toward Mesa Verde National Park. Ripinski then turned around and drove east into Mancos, where he left the car at a residence at 339 E. Grand Ave., Nowlin said.
Law enforcement searched the home, and discovered that Ripinski apparently had fled on foot, Nowlin said.
About 3:45 p.m., a Colorado State Patrol officer reported seeing a man on foot near County Road 41 and County Road J. A resident then reported seeing a man fitting Ripinski’s description on her property in the 8700 block of County Road 42.5.
Officers responded to the residence and arrested Ripinski about 4:25 p.m., Nowlin said.
According to Sgt. Brad Ray of the Mancos Marshal’s Office, Ripinski had warrants out for his arrest in Ohio for possession of dangerous drugs and failure to appear in court. The car driven by Ripinski was also stolen. Law enforcement believes these factors played a role in Ripinski’s choice to elude. He also has a prior history of running from law enforcement while living in Ohio.
The woman involved in the incident has a restraining order against Ripinski.
The La Plata Sheriff’s Office, Mancos Marshal’s Office, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol and Cortez Police Department took part in the manhunt, Nowlin said.
This article will be updated when additional information becomes available.