Dashcam footage of high-speed pursuit released

ST. GEORGE — Dashcam footage showing a suspect leading officers on a high-speed chase through two states at speeds of more than 100 mph has been released by law enforcement.

The chase, which occurred May 24, involved a Las Vegas man who led officers on a fast-paced pursuit on Interstate 15 that began in Arizona, zipped through the Virgin River Gorge, and ended in a PIT maneuver in Utah.

Footage from the pursuit was made available to St. George News by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and provides a glimpse into the chase from the view of three law enforcement units involved in the pursuit.

See the video in media player top of this report.

A white Mustang is stopped when officers perform a PIT maneuver at Exit 31 in Washington County, Utah, May 24, 2017 | Image captured from footage provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The incident began shortly after 8 p.m., MST, May 24, when Arizona Highway Patrol Trooper Gregg McBride stopped a white Ford Mustang on I-15 for going 108 mph, Sgt. John Bottoms with the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in the original report.

Read more: Driver leads officers on high-speed pursuit

The driver, Christian Louis Thomas, pulled to the side of the road but as the trooper approached he accelerated back onto the interstate heading north with McBride following close behind.

The chase continued through the Virgin River Gorge, reaching speeds of 125 mph, Bottoms said.

McBride terminated the pursuit once Thomas crossed the Utah state line and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies picked up the chase.

From there, Thomas continued driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph on I-15, Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Crouse said.

The pursuit finally ended when deputies performed a PIT maneuver at Exit 31 which disabled the car and Thomas was arrested.

The PIT maneuver, or Precision Immobilization Technique, is a technique used by officers to stop fleeing vehicles that poses minimal risk to the driver, the police and the public.

During the PIT maneuver the pursuing vehicle pulls up alongside and is parallel with the fleeing vehicle and once lined up the officer steers sharply toward the suspect’s car, causing the driver to lose control. The suspect’s car then spins out or comes to a stop, according to PoliceOne, an online resource center for law enforcement agencies.

Thomas was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on multiple charges including two third degree felony charges for fleeing police and criminal mischief, in addition to reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor; reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor; one count of operating a handheld communication device and one for improper plate/registration, both class C misdemeanors; and a seat belt violation.

Thomas made an initial appearance in 5th District Court May 26 via teleconference from the jail and was formally charged on all counts. A roll call appearance is scheduled for June 5. Bail was set at $10,000 and Thomas remains incarcerated.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 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: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Mike P. June 4, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Glad to see that after putting innocent drivers in danger in three states, the police were FINALLY able to apprehend the suspect. I was wondering what was so important that the police had to endanger everyone by continuing to engage in a “high speed chase” when it’s known that if you don’t pursue, the suspect will slow down. Then I read that the suspect wasn’t wearing a seat belt and I knew that had to be the reason.

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