By Ryan Lewallen, County 17
One suspect is in custody following an early morning pursuit, while another who reportedly stole a pickup and fled to Casper continues to elude capture, Campbell County officials said.
Both suspects, an unidentified 33-year-old male and 32-year-old Trevor Brinkerhoff, were found in a black 2006 Audi A6 near Blakeman Propane on Highway 14-16.
The Audi bore license plates registered to a Ford Explorer in Casper, according to Gary Sams, a sergeant with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
The deputy initiated a traffic stop, and the Audi pulled over momentarily before taking off around 3:15 a.m. The resulting pursuit ran for 16 miles south, continuing onto Highway 50 with speeds ranging between 100 to 127 miles per hour, according to Sams.
At one point during the pursuit, Brinkerhoff allegedly attempted to blind the deputy with an “extremely bright flashlight,” Sams said. Ten minutes after the pursuit began, the vehicle was stopped with spike strips near Saunders Road and both suspects fled on foot.
Brinkerhoff was run down and arrested in minutes, but the 33-year-old male successfully evaded capture, Sams added, prompting a multi-agency manhunt.
Deputies, with the assistance of a Gillette Police Department K9 team, tracked the male suspect into the prairie, recovering a dropped wallet that contained several ID cards, according to Sams.
But the lack of snow made it difficult to stay on the suspect’s trail, widening the 33-year-old male’s 20-minute lead.
At 8:15 a.m., the suspect still had not been located when a 2008 white Chevrolet Silverado was reported stolen from an address on Saunders Road. The 60-year-old male owner believed the pickup was taken earlier that morning.
Sams said the suspect got lucky, having stumbled across a vehicle that just happened to have the keys left in the cab.
The 33-year-old male was reportedly spotted by law enforcement in Casper driving a vehicle matching the stolen Silverado’s description later the same day, but once again evaded capture.
A call requesting additional details from the Casper Police Department was not returned as of press time.
The Audi was later found to be loaded with burglary tools, including a Slim Jim car door opener and parts of a lockpicking kit, Sams said.
Brinkerhoff has been charged with felony possession of burglary tools. He is also facing a misdemeanor reckless endangering charge for allegedly attempting to blind a deputy with a flashlight, according to Sams.
“There’s a good chance they were here to do some burglaries,” Sams said of the tools recovered from the Audi, adding that Brinkerhoff could face additional charges depending on the results of the investigation.
The CCSO has declined to release the name of the 33-year-old male until his identity can be confirmed given the multiple ID’s found in his wallet.