Slow-speed pursuit of ‘stolen car’ nets 4 confused German tourists

Stock image | St. George News

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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  • fun bag September 16, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL, would’ve loved to see the look on those poor germans faces… 😀

  • ladybugavenger September 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Oh snap, that sucks! Welcome to America :)…that’s a story to tell. Glad it all got worked out and no one was hurt. We really do have the best police force in Washington county including city police. ( that’s no joke, we really do)

  • DRT September 16, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I wonder just how much this is going to cost the car rental company. It is pretty hard to believe that it took these folks nine miles to figure out that the police were not after somebody else. Foreign tourists or not, that is just not very smart.

  • Dexter September 17, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Actually with how things are done in Germany with all the time I lived there. the driver of the car was a total moron for not pulling over

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