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Old Faithful hijinks land Colorado man in jail. Wild chase will send him back, cops say

In this May 21, 2011, file photo, tourists photograph Old Faithful erupting on schedule late in the afternoon in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Yellowstone National Park officials say they’ve ticketed a man caught on video walking dangerously close to Old Faithful geyser.
In this May 21, 2011, file photo, tourists photograph Old Faithful erupting on schedule late in the afternoon in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Yellowstone National Park officials say they’ve ticketed a man caught on video walking dangerously close to Old Faithful geyser. AP file photo

The man accused of walking on Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park while a bystander took video is back in custody after a wild chase, KGAB reported.

On Wednesday afternoon, police received “numerous calls” about a “gold SUV driving recklessly throughout town,” the Cheyenne, Wyoming, police department posted to Facebook. That’s five days after a Greeley, Colorado, man was ticketed for his alleged Yellowstone hijinks.

Officers attempted to stop the driver, now identified as 27-year-old Gabriel Villalva, at about 2 p.m., the post states, but he refused to pull over.

Villalva then led officers on a chase around a park and onto a golf course, police said.

While speeding away, Villalva struck a police car that was involved in the chase, according to the report.

Officers were able to stop the SUV by using spike strips, police said. But when it came to a stop, Villava kept revving the engine — “and the vehicle became engulfed in fire,” police said.

Police then used beanbag rounds before removing the driver from the car and taking him into custody, the report states. The fire was put out, and Villalva was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The chase was about 15-minutes long, KGAB reported. Officer Kevin Malatesta told the station that he didn’t know what charges Villalva is facing in connection with the chase.

The man also faces charges after he was reportedly caught walking near the Old Faithful geyser, KWGN reported, including “leaving boardwalks in a thermal area and disorderly conduct.”

The incident was recorded by Ashley Lemanski of Harbor Beach, Michigan, the Associated Press reported.

“A bunch of the crowd thought he was going to jump. We didn’t know what was going to happen,” she told the AP.

It appeared the man in the video was going to pee on the geyser, the AP reported, and a park ranger yelled at him to walk away from the boiling-hot geyser.

After the man’s alleged stunt, he ignored park officials’ instructions to sit down and instead “began to sing,” the Montana Billings Gazette reported.

“He began walking away and lit a cigarette, but ultimately complied with the instructions after the park ranger drew a Taser and threatened to use it on him,” according to the newspaper.

A park spokesperson told the Billings Gazette that Villalva was arrested after the incident and then was released on bond.

The Cheyenne Police Department said it expects to release more information on the chase investigation sometime today.

Check out some highlights from a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

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