Ryan Cole Stone, the man involved in the high speed car chase that started in Longmont and ended in Lone Tree last week has been formally charged. Stone is facing 26 counts and looking at up to 96 years in prison. The most serious charge is attempted murder. During the course of the chase, Stone is alleged to have hit, nearly killing, a Colorado State Trooper. Stone is also charged with kidnapping because a 4 year old child was in the first car Stone is alleged to have stolen. Stone then went on to hijack two more cars, resulting in 3 counts of motor vehicle theft.
The car chase spanned multiple counties, but the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office will handle the prosecution of the case. Douglas County is part of the 18th Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe, Elbert and Lincoln counties. While some of the charged crimes are alleged to have occurred outside of Douglas County, the entire chase is part of one criminal episode, which allows all charges to be brought in one case in a single county.
Stone has prior felonies on his record. Because of these prior felony convictions, Stone has also likely been charged with habitual criminal counts. Habitual criminal counts are not new crimes, but rather sentence enhancers. If a person is convicted of a felony and it is determined that the person has a certain number of prior felonies, it increases the amount of prison time the person must serve. Habitual criminal counts only apply to felony cases and only prior felony convictions make a person a habitual criminal. Prior misdemeanor convictions may be used as general aggravation in determing a sentence, but generally do not enhance the actual sentencing range, with a few exceptions.