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'Dougherty Gang' Was Driving A Loaner Car; Tip Came From Former Officers

The Subaru Impreza driven by three fugitive siblings, seen here crashed on a highway barrier Wednesday, was loaned to Ryan Dougherty, the AP says. The photo was provided by the Huerfano Journal.
Bill Knowles
The Subaru Impreza driven by three fugitive siblings, seen here crashed on a highway barrier Wednesday, was loaned to Ryan Dougherty, the AP says. The photo was provided by the Huerfano Journal.

The decisive tip that brought the capture of three Florida siblings dubbed the "Dougherty Gang" came from two retired officers who were just out to enjoy a day in the San Isabel National Forest, according to new details of their arrest.

And it turns out that one of the brothers will also face a charge of grand theft auto, because the 2006 white Subaru Impreza the trio repeatedly used to flee police was a loaner.

"According to the warrant," the AP reports, "Ryan Dougherty had permission from a woman to take the Subaru Impreza 'to and from work.' The woman later saw her Subaru on the police chase video."

That's the car that siblings Ryan Dougherty, 21, Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, and Dylan Dougherty, 26, were driving when two former officers — "one a former state trooper and the other a former wildlife officer," according to the AP — spotted near Colorado City Wednesday morning.

The retired officers called the information directly into a Colorado State Patrol dispatch center just after 9 a.m. Soon after, police were in hot pursuit of the Doughertys.

During the chase in Colorado Wednesday, troopers laid spikes out on a section of highway in front of the Doughertys' car, and the driver attempted to avoid them — but instead lost control of the car, which rolled over.

That's when Lee Dougherty pointed a machine gun pistol at her pursuers, according to police. She was shot in the leg by Police Chief James Chamberlain of Walsenburg, Colo.

Earlier today, as Mark reported, after the trio's capture, Lee Dougherty told investigators "I pointed a gun at a cop. I deserved to get shot."

Ryan Dougherty was soon apprehended after another chase, this one on foot.

In addition to the tip from veteran officers, police and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation also coordinated their pursuit on a single digital radio channel — an innovation brought after various departments had trouble communicating during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In the final chase, the car the Doughertys were driving hit speeds of 120 miles per hour, police say. And in the wreckage, police found several weapons — " including two assault rifles, a submachine-gun and a handgun," according to the Pueblo Chieftan.

The Doughertys now face charges of attempted murder of a police officer in two Colorado counties, resulting in bonds of more than $2.5 million each. They are also wanted for shooting at police in Florida, and for robbing a bank in Georgia.

And Ryan Dougherty, who a week ago sawed off the ankle monitor required by the terms of probation he received for using a cellphone to send indecent material to a girl, 11, may receive the stiffest penalties.

As reported earlier, Ryan Dougherty has more than a dozen charges on his police record. That could be one reason that his sister insisted to police after their capture that Ryan had not been firing at the officers, but instead was driving the Subaru.

"A person can't drive and shoot at the same time," Lee said.

Details continue to emerge from the case because at least five different police agencies — and likely several more — have filed reports about their encounters with the Doughertys. Those reports must be melded together to reflect what the fugitives did, and when, making this a complex case. For that reason, prosecutors in some jurisdictions have requested more time to file charges against the siblings.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.