What could have been a traffic stop ended in tragedy Thursday night when a motorcyclist sped away from a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper just a few miles west of Arlington. After leading troopers in a westbound chase of more than 50 miles in Interstate 80, the driver, a 29 year-old Rawlins man named Chad Nickelson, ditched the motorcycle and took off on foot.
Troopers report that they heard a shot, soon followed by another, after chasing the man on foot for 200 yards. Nickelson was pronounced dead at the scene due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Although an investigation is ongoing, WHP Sergeant Stephen Townsend said in a press release that the motorcycle was a 2007 Suzuki - reported stolen in August in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Townsend said the motorcycle had a stolen Wyoming license plate on it.
Troopers said they believe Nickelson eventually fled on foot alongside Highway 76, just east of Rawlins, because the motorcycle either had a mechanical failure or ran out of gas.