Man jumps from moving car on I-15, triggers chase

TOQUERVILLE — A person with mental health issues jumped from a moving vehicle on Interstate-15 Monday afternoon. The 19-year-old man suffered road rash and was admitted to Dixie Regional Medical center for a 72-hour hold.

The man, who was a passenger in his mother’s car, was traveling with his mother, his sister and her friend from Las Vegas to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. Prior to the man jumping from the vehicle, the St. George Communications Center received a call at 1:22 p.m. from the man claiming he thought there was heroin in his mother’s car. The man then requested a canine search of the vehicle, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Danny Ferguson said.

UHP arrived near mile marker 16 northbound and the mother consented to a search of her vehicle. UHP didn’t locate drugs in the car but found out that apparently the man had been suffering from severe mental issues. After troopers got the man calmed down they cleared the scene and the family drove onward.

At 2:34 p.m., as they neared mile marker 30 near the Browse exit, the mother noticed her son fidgeting with the door. She began to slow down and had slowed to about 20-25 miles per hour when her son pushed the car door open and tumbled out.

He ran southbound on the northbound side of the road for about a mile. Near mile marker 29, UHP troopers were able to apprehend him. He was passively resistant, yelling and using a lot of profanity. UHP troopers handcuffed the man and put him in a caged car to transport him to DRMC.

At the hospital, the man was apparently highly paranoid and went into outbursts directed toward the hospital staff, Ferguson said.

“He’s a hundred different directions right now,” he said.

The man suffered road rash to his shoulder and rib cage area from tumbling from the vehicle. He is currently under 72-hour observation at the hospital.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by responders on scene and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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