A man suspected of killing an elderly couple in Williams, Arizona, was arrested Friday night in south Cortez after a chase involving officers from three law enforcement agencies, the Colorado State Patrol said Monday.
The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Derrick S. Barnett, of Grand Junction, was arrested about 10 p.m. on U.S. Highway 491 near mile marker 37, south of Lewis, according to Colorado State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll.
Officers from the state patrol and the Dolores and Montezuma county sheriff’s offices were involved in the pursuit.
About 9:47 p.m., the officers began pursuing Barnett’s 1978 Dodge Power Wagon pickup truck on Highway 491, near mile marker 49, north of County Road EE, in Montezuma County.
Members of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office deployed tire deflation devices on U.S. 491 near County Road BB to slow the Dodge. After continuing the pursuit, CSP officer Charlie Jones pushed the Dodge sideways to a stop near County Road V.
Jones, acting on a tip that Barnett was armed, said that Barnett started swerving into oncoming traffic around mile marker 37. He said that he used the “tactical vehicle intervention” prevent a possible collision.
“This suspect had multiple felony warrants ... he’s a highly violent individual,” Jones said. “I feel really blessed that everyone worked so well as a team. This was a situation that could have (gone) south very quickly.”
Barnett was then arrested without incident. He sustained minor injuries but was medically cleared at Southwest Memorial Hospital.
According to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, the state patrol charged Barnett with felony eluding, reckless driving and driving under revocation. Barnett also had multiple warrants for his arrest.
In Montezuma County Court on Monday, Judge JenniLynn Lawrence set Barnett’s bond at $50,000 cash or surety on the driving charges. He is being held at the Montezuma County Jail pending extradition to Arizona.
The pursuit ended a search that began at 9 a.m. on May 2, when the bodies of Michael Dimuria, 67, and wife Nora Dimuria, 64, were found in their home. The couple’s vehicle was missing, the Williams News reported.
On May 6, Coconino County Sheriff Jim Driscoll announced the Cortez arrest during a 10 a.m. meeting with residents Saturday in Red Lake, Arizona. More than 200 people attended the meeting, according to the Williams News.
Sheriff Driscoll said his office had received a tip on Friday that a potential suspect in the May 1 killings of Nora and Michael Dimuria, of Red Lake, was heading to Colorado.
The couple’s 2006 Jeep Liberty was found by residents near the Dolores River without license plates and apparently abandoned, Sheriff Driscoll said.
Cortez resident Susan Pueschel said she and her partner, Richard Forster, saw the Jeep at the Box Elder Campground near Dove Creek on Wednesday, while they were on a camping trip.
They became suspicious when they saw no sign of campers near the Jeep, and realized its license plates had been removed.
“That whole thing creeped me out a bit,” Pueschel said. “We were the only people in the campground at the time.”
She said they rummaged through the unlocked vehicle, looking for registration or identification, but found nothing except a piece of paper with what they believed to be Nora Dimuria’s name on it and a photo of a toddler on the floor. They took photos of the vehicle and sent them to the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office after returning home on Thursday.
Barnett was located after leaving the location of the Jeep in a different vehicle, and the pursuit began, according to the Coconino sheriff.
Rex Gilliland, commander of operations, said the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office received another tip from the public on Friday, saying that Barnett was now driving the Dodge.
Later, they found out the vehicle had been purchased in Cortez a day or two earlier, according to Dolores Sheriff Jerry Martin.
“They were able to track down the guy who sold it to him and get those details,” Gilliland said. “The Dolores County sheriff and Montezuma County sheriff did a fantastic job on this case.”
Stephanie Alderton contributed to this article.This article was reposted on May 14 to correct the location of the arrest.