Driver In Car With Flat Ends Up In Custody After Chase, State Police Say

A stranded motorist on the side of the Wilbur Cross Parkway Monday night became a prisoner when troopers learned he had carjacked someone at gunpoint in Hartford hours earlier, state police said.

The suspected robber, Rolando Morales-Rios, 35, of Main Street, was arrested on a dozen charges after a car chase — during which he allegedly hit a state police car — and a foot pursuit, they said.

According to the state police, it all started about 11 p.m. with a 2017 Audi Q5 on the right shoulder of Route 15, or the Wilbur Cross Parkway, between exits 59 and 60 in Hamden. The car’s left rear tire was flat.

During a routine check of the registration, troopers learned that the license plate didn’t match the car and then discovered the car had been reported stolen during a gunpoint carjacking in Hartford, police said.

Troopers tried to take the driver into custody, but he slipped away by abruptly closing the driver’s side door and speeding off, state police said. Troopers and Hamden officers caught up with the Audi and tried to bring it to a stop by boxing it in, but the driver, later identified as Morales-Rios, struck a state police car. He then tried to get off the parkway at Exit 59 in New Haven and lost control, hitting a guardrail, state police said.

He got out of the car and ran through the grass near the exit ramp and then ran back up to the parkway, where police took him into custody, police said.

Troopers found that he had a fake gun, a knife and brass knuckles. He was charged with first-degree larceny, reckless endangerment, criminal attempt to commit assault on a police officer and interfering with police, according to state police. He also was charged with possession of a facsimile firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia, improper use of a registration plate, operating with a suspended license, engaging police in pursuit and reckless driving, they said.

In addition, he was charged with two counts each of possession of a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of narcotics, state police said.

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