Hit-and-run driver sideswipes travelers, flees at over 100 mph

Taylor Ryan Sauers, of Orem, Utah, booking photo posted March 9, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A 20-year-old Orem man suspected of being under the influence of alcohol sideswiped another vehicle before fleeing at speeds reaching 100 mph, law enforcement officials said.

Mary Reed was driving with her husband, Clifton, on Interstate-15 in the Virgin River Gorge near Cedar Pockets when their car was hit by a white 2011 Dodge Avenger allegedly driven by Taylor Sauers of Orem.

The couple was heading north for St. George, on their way from Ventura, California, to Denver to attend a funeral and driving a black 2014 Kia Cadenza.

“I could see him in my rear-view mirror,” Mary Reed said. “I was on the outside lane, the truck lane, and this guy was trying to pass me on the shoulder.”

“So I moved over, you know, to the mid-lane, he was driving on the shoulder so he spun out. And when he spun, he spun around and hit the side of our car, the rear side.”

Utah and Arizona law enforcement officers investigate a car driven by a man who allegedly struck another vehicle and led police on a high-speed pursuit into St. George, Utah, March 9, 2017 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Sauers ended up off the road, but pulled back onto I-15 and fled north. Another woman who witnessed the accident followed the man briefly but then called 911.

“The troopers suspected he had been bumping off the walls in the canyon,” Mary Reed said. “Because he’s got all kinds of side damage.”

“I thank God I was able to hold the car on the road,” Mary Reed added, “because I was heading for the median.”

Clifton Reed said after the collision, Sauers pulled over and started to get out of his car.

“He must have left it in drive, because his car starts driving away and he ran after his car and jumped back in it. Once he was back in it, he just closed the door and hit the gas and kept on going,” Clifton Reed said.

The Reeds also called 911.

Utah and Arizona law enforcement officers investigate a car driven by a man who allegedly struck another vehicle and led police on a high-speed pursuit into St. George, Utah, March 9, 2017 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

The incident began about 11 a.m. with multiple calls of a man driving erratically and recklessly in the Virgin River Gorge near Cedar Pockets, Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper John Rogers said.

A few minutes later an accident was reported near Black Rock Road, Rogers said. An attempt to locate was given to the Utah Highway Patrol.

“He drove through the port of entry at 100-plus miles an hour,” Utah Highway Patrol Sargent Larry Mower said.

Troopers who were at the port performing truck inspections waved the man down; when the man didn’t stop, troopers pursued him.

The chase continued as they headed east onto state Route 7, the Southern Parkway, and then north on River Road.

After driving north for a couple of miles, Sauers turned into the parking lot at the White Dome Nature Preserve and stopped. The man was taken into custody without further incident, Mower said.

Highway patrol troopers eventually brought the Reeds to the River Road location where Sauers was arrested in order to gather their information and witness statements.

Utah and Arizona law enforcement officers investigate a car driven by a man who allegedly struck another vehicle and led police on a high-speed pursuit into St. George, Utah, March 9, 2017 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Taylor Ryan Sauers of Orem was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and use of alcohol by a restricted driver, Rogers said. Sauer may be charged with felony evasion, Mower said.

In Arizona, Sauers will likely be charged with hit and run, failing to remain at the scene of an accident and causing an accident.

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com
Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • comments March 9, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    A big bag of pills, probably meth too. I bet he was heading to Cedar.

  • utahdiablo March 10, 2017 at 10:14 am

    “Restricted License”….how about taking this POS driving privilege away for good?

  • .... March 10, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Oh wow once again the amazing Bob knows everything and now he’s a mind reader. Wow absolutely amazing !

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