Suspects apprehended after car chase through Denver, US

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A high-speed pre-dawn pursuit on 29 August, 2005 ended in a fatal accident. A local resident reported to police at 1:00 am (local time) that two people appeared to be attempting to steal a Honda Civic near West 75th Circle in Westminster, Colorado. As the two individuals left the scene in the stolen car, the resident followed in his own vehicle until the passenger stepped out of the Honda and opened fire with a shotgun. The police came upon the suspects near West 72nd Avenue & Pierce Street, Arvada, Colorado, and began pursuit.

The chase proceeded southbound on Sheridan Boulevard and northeast on Interstate 76, reaching speeds of 120 miles per hour (190 kilometres per hour). When the vehicle attempted to merge onto southeast-bound I-270 in Commerce City, Colorado the suspects lost control and impacted two other vehicles.

The stolen vehicle may have punctured one or more tires, as sparks were observed from the bottom of the car as it began the merge. The stolen car struck the middle of the passenger's side of a Toyota 4Runner in the left-hand lane and sent it careening across the median into the northwest-bound lanes of traffic, where it rolled several times. The stolen vehicle then bounced off the guardrail on the right shoulder and impacted a Ford pickup truck before coming to rest. The two suspects then escaped on foot, discarding some of their clothing as they fled. One of the passengers traveling in the Toyota 4Runner, Brian Kapko, 19, of Costa Mesa, California, was killed.

After eight hours of searching for the perpetrators, the police called off their manhunt. Later in the day, a witness alerted the police about two "suspicious persons" near the scene of the accident. The police arrested a Matthew G. Wartena, 19, and a 16 year old male. Wartena was wearing only boxer shorts, socks and a bloody tank top. The juvenile wore only one sock and tan pants. The pair were charged with suspicion of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, vehicular eluding, and criminal trespass. At the time of the incident Wartena was free on bond, having pleaded guilty the month before to forgery of a government document.

External media

Map of accident scene