ST. GEORGE – Touring a foreign country comes with its share of challenges, but when you’re driving a car that has been reported stolen, those challenges suddenly become confounding. Such was the case with four German tourists who led St. George Police on a slow-speed pursuit down Interstate 15 Wednesday morning.
An officer working a regular patrol about 8 a.m. noticed the white Dodge passenger car, listed as stolen, traveling 50 mph in the slow lane on southbound I-15 at about mile marker 4, St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said.
When they attempted to pull the car over, she said, the driver continued driving for nearly 9 miles, traveling between 50 mph and 60 mph.
“They attempted to make the stop, but the vehicle did not respond and continued on.”
Three officers pursued the car as it kept traveling in the right lane at a slow speed for several miles with traffic backing up behind the pursuit.
Fearing the worst, Trombley said, police closed the southbound lanes of I-15 while officers performed a felony stop at mile marker 25.5 in Arizona.
Four perplexed German tourists, two men and two women, were found in the vehicle.
“The reason that the people in the vehicle didn’t stop is they didn’t think the officers were trying to stop them,” Trombley said. “They thought the officers were trying to stop someone else.”
“One of the things they said is that if you get pulled over by the police in Germany, (the police) drive past you and then you pull over behind them,” Trombley said. “They were probably quite confused.”
The vehicle had been reported stolen by a car rental company and then it had been returned; however, the rental company had not reported the vehicle had been found.
“So it was still showing as stolen in the system,” Trombley said, “and it had been rented out to these unsuspecting people and unfortunately they got pulled over.”
“If you report it as stolen,” Trombley said, “you really need to say it’s not stolen, when it comes back.”
Once everything was all sorted out, the tourists were released and the vehicle removed from the NCIC system, Trombley said. “And they were sent on their way.”
Five officers were involved in the incident, which was cleared up by 9 a.m.
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