117-year-old building proves too much for motorhome driver
August 31, 2018
After spike strips and roadblocks, it was a 117-year-old Gardnerville building that finally stopped a rampaging motorhome driver, who led deputies on a fiery 45-mile chase on Sunday.
The Ritchford stables were built the same time as the William Ritchford's hotel, which most recently housed Rancho Grande.
Ritchford announced opening both the hotel and the stables in the March 1, 1901, edition of The Courier.
The long white structure is one of the oldest native structures in Douglas County.
Late Sunday night, a Alturas, Calif., man drove a motorhome into Nevada at Stateline, weaving and travelling without headlights.
Christopher Debastioni, 46, led authorities on a chase from South Lake Tahoe, up and over Highway 50 to Carson City and then south to Gardnerville.
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Debastioni appeared in Tahoe Township Justice Court on Aug. 28, where his bail was set at $25,000 for assault with a deadly weapon and attempt to elude. He also faces a gross misdemeanor for failure to stop at a roadblock and a passel of traffic violations, including driving under the influence.
He is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday.
In addition to running without lights, the 1997 Airstream motorhome was swerving into oncoming traffic. Deputies followed the motorhome down 50 to Carson City where two spike strips were laid out, which damaged the tires on the vehicle's right side. As the rubber began to tear away from the rims, a shower of sparks sprayed out behind Debastioni as he continued down Highway 395 south toward Minden, where a roadblock was waiting. Debastioni drove the motorhome onto Highway 88 and around the Maverik parking lot before driving across the Town of Minden's landscaping at the intersection, leaving tire tracks across the lawn.
He drove around another roadblock at Buckeye and Highway 395 in Minden where deputies had to dive out of his path. He also aimed the motor home at a patrol car.
The motorhome's rims left a deep groove in the highway as Debastioni swerved back and forth across the road through Gardnerville before running the Airstream into the long white building at Douglas Avenue and Highway 395.
Deputies took advantage of the pause to board the motorhome and struggled to get Debastioni cuffed before finally taking him into custody.
Debastioni was taken to Carson Valley Medical Center for treatment of injuries received in the incident.
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