Video of Berthoud deputy pulling over 9-year-old in play car goes viral

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

A screenshot of the video shows Larimer County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Hobson talking to Lilly, 9, Ollie, 6, and Claire Noltimier on April 5. The video, recorded by Mitch Noltimier has had more than 152,000 views.  Courtesy of Lindsay Noltimier / The Surveyor

A screenshot of the video shows Larimer County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Hobson talking to Lilly, 9, Ollie, 6, and Claire Noltimier on April 5. The video, recorded by Mitch Noltimier, has had more than 152,000 views.
Courtesy of Lindsay Noltimier / The Surveyor

An extremely slow-speed chase ended without incident on April 5 in the Serenity Ridge neighborhood of Berthoud as a deputy attempted to stop two little girls for running a stop sign.

According to the suspect’s mother, Lindsay Noltimier, the driver of the pink plastic play car was her 9-year-old daughter Lilly, and the passenger was her 2-year-old, Claire.

Her other daughter, Ollie, 6, wasn’t in the vehicle but was running alongside it at the time of the incident. The girls were heading home for bath time when the officer noticed them “California roll” through a stop sign.

“I’ve befriended several families in the neighborhood, and I had heard that their kids had gotten one of the play cars,” said Larimer County Deputy with the Berthoud Squad Kevin Hobson. “I told their parents that if I ever see them driving it that I was going to pull them over.”

The night’s events all started out at a barbecue at one of the Noltimier’s neighbors, according to Lindsay.

“It’s a tightknit community,” she said. “We usually get together on Sundays.”

It was one of those Sundays where the neighbors had gathered for “a run-of-the-mill community get together,” Lindsay said. That is, until bath time came.

At that point, things went a little sideways as the three girls headed to the car.

“Lilly and Claire hopped in the car and took off,” Lindsay said. “She just went right through the stop sign.”

At that point, Deputy Hobson saw Lilly roll through the stop sign, so he went to his patrol car and began pursuit.

“I was just going to pull them over to interact with them for fun,” Hobson said.

Initially, Lilly pulled into the Noltimier’s driveway, but according to Hobson, her father, Mitch Noltimier, told her to keep going; and they did with Hobson in hot pursuit.

“They just kept going,” Lindsay said. “It was so funny. It was cute.”

Mitch recorded the incident and posted it online to his Facebook page a few days later, so his out-of-state family and friends could view. The next morning the video had over 200 views, to Lindsay’s surprise.

“We chuckled to ourselves the next morning when it was at 200 views, then it became a community thing that we were all sharing,” Lindsay said of the video. With all the negative press about officers around the country, this is a “breath of fresh air,” Lindsay said. “It shows that there is still so much good out there, too.”

The video has since been viewed over 152,000 times and has even been posted on the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page.

Lindsay and Hobson were surprised by the amount of views the video had received.

“It caught me off guard,” Hobson said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

According to neighbor Judy Dorsett, Hobson has a great relationship with Serenity Ridge residents and it shows in the video.

“When Kevin is working, if it’s him, he’ll always come out and say ‘hi’ just to see how things are going,” Dorsett said.

Hobson has been a deputy with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office since July 2013. In 2014 he became part of the Berthoud Squad as a temporary assignment but ended up staying.

“Within the first week I was enjoying my time in Berthoud,”  he said. “It’s all about interacting with the community. I didn’t get that working in northern Fort Collins, having time to talk with people and hear their stories, it’s a lot more personable down here; I really enjoy that.”

Hobson has become familiar with Serenity Ridge residents through patrolling the neighborhood, which he does once per shift, just as he does with other Berthoud neighborhoods. Lindsay said it’s through those patrols that they’ve gotten to know Hobson, and he’s become one of the crew.

“He’s extremely approachable. He’s young and everyone really appreciates him,” Lindsay said. “He’s a hard worker and it’s admirable.”

Getting to know the residents he serves as a deputy, Hobson said, is a crucial part of the job because it’s important that people are comfortable and familiar with the officers around town. It’s also one of the best aspects of the job.

“That is what I love about this job,” he said, “Getting to interact with people like that, and them getting to know me. You only build these relationships by getting out of the car and having conversations and getting to know those people you serve.”

It wasn’t the girls’ first run-in with law enforcement. According to Lindsay, they’d been connected to a candy caper a few months earlier that occurred at a neighbor’s house, but no charges were filed in the case.

In the latest incident, Hobson discovered that the driver, Lilly, had no license or proof of insurance. However, through a thorough investigation, he determined that the girls didn’t pose an imminent threat and no citation was issued.

The girls were let go with a warning and some sage advice that being late for bath time is no excuse to run a stop sign.

“They were able to drive home so the car didn’t have to be towed,” Hobson said.