Suspects flee through desert after sand halts stolen car

Sand Hill area, south of Sand Hollow Reservoir | Photo for reference purposes only, St. George News

HURRICANE — Two were arrested on stolen vehicle, weapons and drug charges after attempting to flee from police early Sunday evening near Sand Hollow Reservoir. What started as a car chase on pavement moved to dirt road then to off-road at which point a foot-chase ensued and the police finally caught the suspects in the “sand hill” area south of Sand Hollow.

William John Desouza, 28, of St. George, and Teasha Marie Anderson, 26, of Hurricane, both fled from police on foot through the desert at about 5:30 p.m., Sunday, after the car they were in – reported stolen – got stuck in the sand just off a dirt road adjoining Sand Hollow Road. Prior to the foot chase, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Pastor was pursuing the suspects by vehicle on Sand Hollow Road.

Pastor had attempted to pull them over earlier, he said in his probable cause statement, but Desouza, who was driving the vehicle, fled the traffic stop with Anderson in the passenger seat. As the police chase ensued, Desouza reached speeds of 90 mph in the reported stolen Mazda 6.

After speeding south on Sand Hollow Road, Desouza turned onto a dirt road in the “sand hill” area just past State Route 7. Several hundred yards later, Pastor said, the Mazda went off the dirt road and became stuck in sand.

Both suspects ran in different directions from the vehicle. Pastor chased Desouza, who ran several hundred yards before he stopped and gave up, Pastor said in the statement.

Before Desouza gave up, he had set down a small metal box that he had been carrying. The contents of the box were later field tested and identified as methamphetamine.

Anderson ran in a different direction from the vehicle and was eventually tracked down by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies who were assisting with the chase.

According to Pastor’s statement, Anderson was an active participant in fleeing from the police – both in the vehicle and on foot.

After catching Anderson and Desouza, upon inspection of the Mazda, police found a loaded revolver-style handgun along with marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Both Desouza and Anderson are convicted felons and are therefore restricted from possessing a firearm.

The Mazda had been reported stolen out of St. George on Friday, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said. Before the chase started the reported stolen Mazda had passed in front of him, at which point he began following the vehicle.

After the chase, the Mazda was towed from the scene, Hicks said.

Besides the Utah Highway Patrol and Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Hurricane Police Department also assisted with the incident.

Desouza was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony, two weapons-related violations, one a second-degree and one a third-degree felony, fleeing from and evading an officer, a third-degree felony, and possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, a third-degree felony. Desouza also had several misdemeanors for possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying a loaded weapon, and failure to stop for an officer.

Anderson was charged with fleeing from and evading an officer, a third-degree felony, and one weapons-related violation, a second-degree felony. She was also charged with three misdemeanors, failure to stop for an officer, paraphernalia possession, and carrying a loaded weapon.

There were two other individuals in the back seat of the car that, upon the initial police stop, got out of the car before Desouza drove off. One was arrested on a warrant and the other was released, Hicks said.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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6 Comments

  • David Dalley May 6, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Desouza…wonder where he is from

  • Roger May 6, 2014 at 7:39 am

    La Verkin

  • Just serve sentence May 6, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Pass a law if you run from police and endanger any one the officer has to make sure at that very moment those being chased will not be repeat offenders, nor are they moving into a recovery home, nor getting Govt assistance, nor causeing anymore global warming, nor useing to much water, or endangering any more plant and animal life. The police officer then could say I’ve done something good today I accomplished something I have gotten rid of a problem them money I just saved the world can now be use for something worth enjoying like my retirement. But no we need rehabilitate these offenders because it’s our problem they’ve turned out the way they are, we have all made life so hard on everyone. Let’s legalize all things bad, then once a person signs up for what ever is harmful we can lock them in there homes let them do drugs, lie to each other, get drunk, rape them selves, steal from them selves or what ever harmful thing they choose. We can have some one drop by leave food and water and drug of their choice( may be the family sense they failed raising them, then after ages year we see how that all works out Maybe a positive thing. Or better yet they will run from the police. We need to save the world

  • Rachel May 6, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Third paragraph, “passenger seat” not sea. Darn spell check. 🙂

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic May 6, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, Rachel. 🙂

  • Zita May 10, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    We heard automatic weapons fired. Three rounds, before police showed up. Do you know if the found the weapons? We were on the golf course and could heard plus see most of the event . Was someone shoot? Or shoot at? Did they police find an automatic type weapon? You make no mention of this weapon. We did not feel very save. How farther do bullets travel from an automatic weapon. The police were fast to arrive, about 8 cars.

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