GYPSUM — A murder suspect caught Thursday in Eagle County following a high-speed chase was on his way back to California by Friday afternoon.
Eagle County authorities accommodated the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and moved Louis Gabriel Lucero’s first Eagle County court appearance to Friday morning, The California authorities took him back to San Bernardino County to face charges of murdering his on-again/off-again girlfriend Erlinda Villareal and her two young sons, ages 9 and 12.
Lucero, 35, is accused of killing all three early Wednesday morning and dumping their bodies in the desert about 12 miles from the Victorville, California home he sometimes shared with Villareal. He fled east, stealing vehicles along the way, including three vehicles in Colorado, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.
His last auto theft was around 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Dotsero in western Eagle County, where he allegedly stole a car and sped east along Interstate 70. Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from other Eagle County agencies chased him at speeds above 100 mph. He jumped off I-70 in Dowd Junction and headed south on Highway 24 through Minturn. He crashed the car near Red Cliff and fled on foot, but was quickly caught by deputies.
In Eagle County, Lucero was charged with two counts of first degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, vehicular eluding, attempting to elude, felony criminal mischief, leaving the scene of an accident, and reckless endangerment.
Lucero’s Eagle County charges will take a backseat to the three murder charges he faces in San Bernardino County, California.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department was so anxious to get Lucero back to California that officers actually flew to Eagle County Thursday night, using a plane sometimes used for prisoner transport and other duties — a 1975 twin-engine Beech Super King.
The deputies from San Bernardino County took off for California at 2:30 p.m. Friday.