State troopers who stopped to help a driver with a flat tire realized the car was stolen during a carjacking and took the suspect into custody after a chase.
State troopers from Troop I in Bethany were patrolling Route 15 southbound around 11 p.m. Monday when they stopped for a 2017 Audi Q5 that was stopped on the right shoulder between exits 59 and 60 in Hamden because the left back tire was flat, according to state police.
Troopers soon realized the license plate did not match the registration for the Audi, so they checked the vehicle’s VIN, which revealed that the Audi was reported stolen out of Hartford on Sunday and the owner had been carjacked at gunpoint, according to police.
State police tried to detain the driver, but he opened the driver’s side door, quickly closed it and sped away, leading troopers in pursuit, police said.
When troopers and Hamden police officers caught up with the Audi, they boxed it between two cruisers to try and stop it, but the driver, 35-year-old Rolando Morales-Rios, of Hartford, intentionally struck a state police cruiser in an attempt to get away, then tried to get off the highway at exit 59 in New Haven and lost control of the Audi and hit the guardrail, police said.
Morales-Rios then ran through the grass area near exit 59, then back up onto Route 15, where police took him into custody, according to police.
He had a facsimile gun, a knife and brass knuckles on him, according to state police.
Morales-Rios was charged with first-degree larceny, reckless endangerment, criminal attempt at assault on a police officer, interfering with a police officer, possession of a facsimile firearm, two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon, two counts of illegal possession of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia, improper use of a registration plate, operating with a suspended license, engaging police in pursuit and reckless driving.