Suspect arrested after leading officer in foot pursuit

File photo from 2016: The Utah Highway Patrol responded to a series of crashes on I-15 after morning rain. This collision was at milepost 15 south of Exit 16 into Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – A California man is in jail after allegedly flagging down a driver and then forcing her to run from police, but the woman instead drove him to another officer located just minutes away on the side of the freeway.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Burdett arrested Michael Wahhab, 31, Wednesday on a third-degree felony for evading police.

Wahhab allegedly ran from police while Burdett was attempting to arrest him on a California warrant for parole violation.

Burdett found Wahhab’s warrant after making a routine traffic stop on a vehicle traveling north on Interstate 15 near mile marker 122, just north of Beaver.

Wahhab, who was the rear passenger, was not wearing his seat belt prompting Burdett to ask for the man’s identification, according to the trooper.

When Burdett tried to arrest Wahhab on the warrant the man took off on foot and flagged down a vehicle traveling south.

The female driver drove just a short distance before she saw a K9 trooper on the side of the freeway where she stopped her vehicle, jumped out and ran, Lt. Steve Esplin said.

At that time, the officer pulled Wahhab out of the vehicle and arrested him.

“The K9 trooper told him not to move or he’d get the K9 out of his vehicle,” Esplin said. “He complied at that point.”

In addition to the felony evasion charge, Wahhab was booked into the Beaver County Jail on a Class B misdemeanor for possession of paraphernalia.

The driver of the vehicle Wahhab was first traveling in was cited with a traffic violation and released, Burdett said.

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Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

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  • Kristi December 14, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    So he’s not being charged with kidnapping? Wow so I guess it’s ok now to force someone from one location to another against their will. I really hope they forgot to add that in the article, because I just can’t see how he can get away with endangering someone else while evading the police!!! Come on!!!

  • Doug December 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

    And you all thought the seatbelt law was to keep you safe……..

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