By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Cheyenne man was arrested Thursday after allegedly leading Cheyenne police officers on a chase through the city that ended when all of the vehicles involved were destroyed in a grass fire.
No one was injured in the fire that broke out after police pursued Jason Nelson, 50, into a field, where the heat from the car he was driving and from the two police cars ignited a fire that consumed all three vehicles.
According to the Cheyenne Police Department, police received a call Thursday afternoon of a vehicle theft on Cheyenne’s south side. The department said Nelson allegedly stole a Buick Envision that was left unattended and running outside of a residence.
Using a cell phone inside the vehicle and its OnStar security system, officers were able to locate the Buick and began their pursuit about 15 minutes after receiving the report.
According to department reports, officers began pursuing the Buick about 15 minutes later, following it onto an on-ramp for Interstate 80.
OnStar was then used to remotely slow the vehicle and it swerved off of the on-ramp and into a field, where Nelson exited the car.
The two police cars in pursuit followed the Buick and the heat from all three vehicles ignited the fire.
Nelson was captured about 15 minutes after the chase began.
Cheyenne police in the pursuit probably called OnStar to ask for its assistance in stopping the vehicle, Scott Roybal, a Cheyenne city councilman and car salesman, told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
“If the dispatcher has a partial (vehicle identification number) of the vehicle they’re chasing, OnStar can look it up on the GPS and then they can disable the engine,” he said.
Roybal said that at the dealership he works at, the employees can make a similar call to OnStar to have the cars shut down when they are stolen.
“It’s been happening a lot lately,” he said. “In the last year, we’ve lost more cars in Cheyenne than we probably have in the last 10 years.”
The case remains under investigation by the Cheyenne Police Department.