By Katharhynn Heidelberg
A Delta County man who reportedly fled from authorities during a series of incidents — at one point triggering a Code Red Alert — was found suffering from hypothermia and injuries sustained when he wrecked a vehicle he is suspected of stealing.
Corbin Lovato is recovering in the Delta County Memorial Hospital, Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor said Wednesday.
On Feb. 10, a woman reported the theft of her vehicle from Mesa View Drive in Eckert. The vehicle was entered as stolen and an attempt to locate was issued. Three days later, on Feb. 13, a property owner contacted 911 because he saw two men enter his home on Q25 Road. When he confronted them, one of the men allegedly pointed a rifle at him, then the pair fled in a vehicle similar to the one that had been reported stolen, Taylor said.
The property owner followed the vehicle east of Cedaredge and reported that at one point, someone inside had again pointed a rifle in his direction, before the vehicle slowed or stopped at a nearby property, according to reports Taylor cited.
A Cedaredge Police Department officer in the area located and arrested one of the suspected occupants, whom Taylor identified as Raymond Norvell.
Norvell is accused of trespassing; formal charges are due to be filed by March 19, according to Delta Combined Court records.
Norvell reportedly denied knowing the driver; deputies and officers again went searching, but were unable to locate the vehicle or the driver.
As they searched, dispatch received a call of a similar vehicle driving in a new construction area and causing damage. When responding deputies spotted the vehicle, the person driving it took off, only to wreck in the poor weather.
Taylor said the driver, later alleged to be Lovato, was thrown from the vehicle, but fled on foot.
Deputies located a rifle in the wreckage and were able to determine through an unspecified investigation that Lovato could be the driver.
The DCSO issued a Code Red Alert to residences in the area, to tell people a person who might be dangerous was at large.
“We felt it was appropriate to put a shelter-in-place (recommendation) at that time, until we had him located or at least until it was clear it was safe in that area,” Taylor said.
On the morning of Feb. 15, Deputy Russ Coover was traveling along Harts Basin Road and spotted an agricultural property with outbuildings that could have provided cover for a fugitive.
After checking several of them, Coover came across a canvas tent pitched beneath some trees. Upon receiving no reply after he announced himself, Coover unzipped the tent flap.
Inside, he saw a sleeping bag that clearly had someone inside and when he unzipped the bag, he found Lovato.
With Deputy Kenny Taylor, Coover called for medical help for Lovato, who appeared badly injured and to possibly have hypothermia.
“He probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer,” Taylor said.
Charges are pending against Lovato, who was listed as having a court appearance today on initial allegations of trespass and obstructing a peace officer, as well as for warrants in three other cases. According to Taylor, he remains hospitalized.
Lovato was also involved in a police chase last year, Taylor said, alleging that on Nov. 23, he fled a traffic stop in Cedaredge and led authorities on a pursuit on Cedar Mesa. They disabled his vehicle using spiked sticks to take out the tires and captured Lovato when he tried to flee, Taylor said.