Authorities at Utah-Arizona border nab trucker suspected of rape

Authorities arrest 54-year-old Thorpe Steele, of Alvin, Texas, at the Utah-Arizona Interstate 15 port of entry, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A semitractor-trailer driver was arrested near the Utah-Arizona border in St. George Sunday afternoon after authorities discovered warrants for his arrest stemming from rape allegations.

Thorpe Steele, 54, of Alvin, Texas, bookings photo posted Feb. 11, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Utah Highway Patrol arrested 54-year-old Thorpe Steele, of Alvin, Texas, on the northbound side of the Interstate 15 port of entry inspection exit at approximately 2:20 p.m. The arrest was made without incident for two outstanding warrants.

During a routine inspection of the semi the man was driving, Arizona Department of Transportation authorities checking his identification discovered the warrants for his arrest out of Salt Lake County and contacted Utah troopers to make the arrest, UHP Sgt. Jake Hicks told St. George News.

Steele’s warrants stem from first-degree felony charges of alleged rape and forcible sodomy after an adult woman told West Valley City Police that Steele had sexually assaulted her in his semi at a CR England Trucking facility in Salt Lake County July 3, 2017.

Steele was training the woman at the time of the alleged attack, according to a probable cause statement by West Valley City Police authorities written in support of the arrest warrants.

The woman told police Steele was showing her the inside of his truck when he mentioned he had several knives and told her “What happens in the truck stays in the truck,” according to the police statement.

“When they entered the sleeping area of the truck, Steele grabbed the front of her pants and forced his hands into her pants.”

Authorities arrest 54-year-old Thorpe Steele, of Alvin, Texas, at the Utah-Arizona Interstate 15 port of entry, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The woman allegedly told Steele to stop, but he then threw her on the bed and told her to undress. According to the police statement, the woman said she protested, but he told her “No was not an option,” then grabbed her hair and made her undress.

The woman told police Steele then locked the truck, closed the blinds, pinned her to the bed and sexually assaulted her.

In a post-Miranda statement, police said, Steele claimed the sex was consensual.

Steele has no prior records of criminal history in Utah.

Troopers transported Steele to Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane where he remains in custody at the time of this report with bail requirements of $200,000.

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

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • knobe February 11, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    I suspect ” it was consensual” is the standard rapists claim .
    I know our town thief always said he didn’t do it , even when busted with the evidence .

  • DRT February 11, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    So what did they do with the truck?

  • Striker4 February 11, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Someone from the trucking came down and got it

  • comments February 11, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    guys that do this stuff at this age usually have some sort of prior criminal history of violence or sex offenses. would be interesting to know.

  • Caveat_Emptor February 12, 2018 at 8:20 am

    If this woman was assaulted back in July 2017, it seems like the good old boys in WVC took their time to find this guy……..I guess they thought their job was done when they posted the arrest warrant, with no further investigational follow-up.
    Kudos to AZ-DOT for their routine checking process.

    • TruckersWife2009 February 18, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      I am just Trucker’s wife and I know there is no way my husband has done such a thing. This THING throwing out false accusations is going to see what kind of many charges will be filed against her.

  • TruckersWife2009 February 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    For your information I am this Trucker’s wife and have been for going on 9 years. I’ve known him since I was 7 years old and he was 9. There is no way on God’s green earth that he is guilty of what this female has accused him of. My husband is a God-fearing man, a good husband, a good father and a good grandfather.
    God knows the truth and this THING that is throwing out false accusations will pay in the end. God will deal with her.
    Thorpe & I believe that God is in control & will deal with all involved.

  • Jonathan May 8, 2018 at 1:45 am

    So i’m his son that he hasnt talked to in 9 years or so for good reasons he and his wife are pathologic liars. He has never been there as a father to me. I met this man when i was 11 and continued a relationship with him until i was 19 when i met my wife. When his wife pulled her gun on my wife at their home (which i was living in at the time), I was done and havent spoken to them since. He hasnt even seen his grandchildren my 4 kids. So ya Judy u can say you and he are god fearing but you arent! You are a terrible liar as is he on top of this he cheated on u doing this and u still stand up for him u make me sick! Sorry
    for the rant everyone else just figured id get my two cents in.

  • Amber May 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    As his daughter i call bull…my father for a fact is a peice of work as far as a father is concernced…. What kind of man walks out on his kids and then blames the mother for his wrong doings…. And god fearing …. Please if hes god fearing then im the queen of england… To my knowledge That man probably hasnt stepped into church since meamaw died and most likely wont step back into one til one of my uncles or papaw died…. What kind of father kicks his pregnant daughter out and lets her walk halfway to her brothers over an arguement on the freakin ac tempature…. Only to try and play hero when i end up on the side of the road in preterm labor. I can even pull up the adoption papers that removes his parental rights to myself and my brother because his lack thereof as a father. I am not only ashamed to call this man my sperm donar much less dad. I will not be surpised if more accusations start to show up. Ive told you eventually karma was going to get him . guess his time has finally come!!!!!

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