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Publish Date: 10/25/2005

Longmont police officers Rick Nylen, left, and Dawn Cirkl, right, along with a parole officer who asked not to be identified, take cover Monday as police surround an apartment building at 1932 Meadow Drive in Longmont while looking for a suspect from a hit-and-run accident that occurred Sunday. Times-Call/Richard M. Hackett

$13,000 in meth found in truck
Hunt ongoing for man wanted in auto collision

LONGMONT — Police found 87 grams — or $13,000 worth — of methamphetamine in a rented 4x4 truck that plowed into a Hyundai on Sunday night at the corner of 23rd Avenue and Collyer Street, leaving a local couple badly hurt.

The truck’s driver fled after brandishing a gun at a Colorado State Patrol trooper who had been following the vehicle for a traffic violation.

Frank Latham, 27, who was driving the Hyundai east on 23rd Avenue when the Chevrolet Silverado T-boned the car, was listed in grave condition at Denver Health Medical Center on Monday night, Cmdr. Craig Earhart of the Longmont Police Department said.

Jennifer Latham, 35, remained in serious condition at Longmont United Hospital, he added.

“It’s very touch and go,” Earhart said of their conditions.

The couple have four children, who were not in the the car during the accident.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for the driver, who escaped the accident scene with the gun he pulled on the trooper. At 23rd Avenue, the man was traveling at an estimated 60 mph when he ran the stop sign and hit the couple’s car.

After the accident, the trooper took one semi-automatic gun from the man. Then he pulled another one, struggled with the trooper and fled south on Collyer and then east onto Dexter Drive and through a home there.

Earhart said Monday that the suspect is believed to be a parole violator from Nebraska who has been in town in recent weeks hanging around with known “tweakers.”

He said investigators are withholding the suspect’s name until two or three more witnesses view photo lineups. The man, known on the streets as Fat Head, was also injured in the accident. However, the extent of his injuries and whether he would have had to seek medical attention for them remains unknown.

Witnesses to the Sunday accident said the suspect was bleeding from the head and blood was discovered along his escape trail in a nearby home.

“If it’s the person we think it is, he’s a very dangerous individual,” Earhart said.

The suspect is described as a 32-year-old white man, 6 feet 2 inches tall and 200 pounds, with a shaved head. He was last seen wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

Earhart said that if the man is not found by today, the Longmont Police Department will release his identity.

Police surrounded an apartment complex Monday afternoon on Meadow Drive north of 19th Avenue for several hours, but the suspect was not inside.

“This is just one of the associated addresses (the man is known to frequent),” Earhart said. “It’s pretty much a crapshoot.”

Two people were arrested at the complex, however. Alejandro “Droopy” Gonzalez, 25, was arrested on an outstanding trespassing warrant. Terri Grine, 31, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for forgery. Earhart said they are not believed to be connected to the gun-wielding suspect.

He added that officers checked out about a dozen potential hideouts for the suspect over the course of the day Monday but did not locate him.

Following the Sunday crash, witnesses told police the man ran into a home on Dexter Drive, but after the SWAT team surrounded the house and the occupants came outside, police determined that the suspect had not hidden in the home.

“It appears he just ran through the house,” Earhart said.

One woman who declined to be identified said she moved to Meadow Drive four months ago to escape crime on Centennial Drive. She said she was disappointed to see police on her new street Monday.

“I tell people if they want to find a cop, go to Meadow, because that’s where they all are,” she said. “I don’t want to live here anymore.”

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.

Amanda Arthur can be reached at 303-684-5215, or by e-mail at aarthur@times-call.com.

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