Colorado Man Crashes Truck When He Learned 13-Year-Old Wyoming Girl Wasn’t Real

A 45-year-old Colorado man accused of trying to meet up with a 13-year-old Wyoming girl sped off and wrecked his truck in Albany County when he realized the date was a police setup.

CM
Clair McFarland

February 05, 20243 min read

Albany County Sheriffs Office SUV 8 1 23

A Colorado man accused of trying to have sex with a 13-year-old girl — who was actually a Laramie Police Department sergeant posing as a minor — sped off and wrecked his truck in a field in Albany County when he realized the date he’d arranged with what he thought was the teen was a setup. 

Erik M. Golding, 45, of La Junta, Colorado, is scheduled to give his plea Feb. 20 in Albany County District Court. He’s charged with one count of attempted exploitation of children (punishable by between five and 12 years in prison and $10,000 in fines) and one count of soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations with a child (punishable by up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines). 

He also faces misdemeanors for allegedly speeding through stop signs and careless driving. 

Chat Gets Explicit

Laramie Police Department Sgt. Craig Lenhardt was on a chatroom platform Jan. 8, posing as a 13-year-old girl. 

“Hello sweetie, how are you?” texted Golding, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed Feb. 1 in Albany County District Court. 

“Good u,” answered Lenhardt, still pretending to be a girl. The affidavit says Lenhardt later added, “I guess I should tell u im 13.”

“I’m 45,” answered Golding, allegedly. 

Golding offered to take the “girl” shopping and trying on clothes, and the “girl” tried to plan a date in Albany County around her (fictitious) mom’s work schedule. 

Golding sent explicit sex offers and asked for photos. He asked if the “girl” was on birth control and offered to bring Plan B emergency contraceptive to the date, the affidavit says. 

Golding sent a video of his truck running Jan. 18, with the text “getting warmed up to head out once I got my pay.” 

That Truck

As the date approached, Lenhardt and Laramie Police Department Officer Ethan Greenawalt started driving in the area where the “girl’s” fake address was and allegedly spotted that same truck. 

Lenhardt pulled in behind the truck and flicked on his flashing lights. 

Golding drove over to a nearby curb. 

Officer Johnson chased after Golding, also flashing his lights. 

Then Golding took off at 65 mph eastbound between Garfield and 15th streets, the affidavit says, along the way allegedly blowing through six stop signs. 

Police quit chasing him because they were worried about the safety of other drivers. 

But 10 minutes later, another officer saw that same truck driving around 6th and Skyline Avenue and chased after the truck. 

Golding reportedly drove north and left the road, driving through a fence and onto Interstate 80. The Albany County Sheriff’s Office took over the chase, after which Golding crashed his truck and got it stuck in a field outside Laramie, the affidavit says. 

Albany County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Golding. 

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter