Driver leads police in 110-mph chase on I-15; says she was ‘in a hurry’

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WASHINGTON COUNTY — A California woman passed a Utah Highway Patrol trooper going more than 110 miles per hour and was later arrested after leading police through two counties with lights and sirens blaring Wednesday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m. UHP Trooper Grant Hintze was stopped in the median of Interstate 15 near mile marker 40 in Washington County when a white Honda flew by him at more than 110 miles per hour, a speed captured by radar, he said.

The trooper pulled out while activating his lights and sirens as he accelerated to catch up to the speeding vehicle. Within a few miles he began closing the distance and came up behind the Honda, which was then traveling at more than 117 miles per hour. The trooper continued following the car while alerting dispatch to the situation and the non-compliant driver.

Hintze provided the vehicle description along with the plate number issued out of California to dispatch as reinforcements were called in to assist.

Within minutes, an Iron County Sheriff’s deputy responded and fell in behind the trooper as both patrol vehicles pursued the driver with lights and sirens activated, while the driver continued down the interstate.

Dispatch relayed the registration information showing that the car was registered to a Lin Le out of Monterey Park, California.

Meanwhile, the trooper advised dispatch they were still pursuing the car at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

As the Honda approached mile post 46 in Iron County, the driver merged to the right and slowed to 80 miles per hour as traffic became more congested, Hintze said. By mile post 47, the driver pulled onto the right shoulder and stopped the car.

Both officers got out and approached the car with guns drawn as they shouted commands for the driver to put her hands out the window and exit the car, but she remained inside.

She did roll down her window but with all of the noise it was difficult to determine why she just sat in her car without moving,” Hintze said.

With the situation at a standstill, officers surmised that a language barrier may have been at least partially responsible for the driver’s refusal.

The Iron County deputy was able to reach a translator on the phone who spoke Mandarin Chinese and, using the loudspeaker, was able to translate the command for her to exit the vehicle. The driver complied.

“The Iron County deputy, as resourceful as he was, got a hold of that interpreter who not only got her out of the car, but assisted us during the entire stop,” Hintze said.

Through the translator, the driver was questioned and gave no reason for driving at such an excessive speed, telling officers she was heading to Salt Lake City and was “in a hurry,” he said.

Hintze also said that despite the driver’s claims that she spoke no English, they found that she has lived in both California and Nevada for several years and was able to get a driver’s license and Social Security card, both of which she had in her possession when stopped by police.

Even with the language barrier, it is still excessive to be driving more than 110 miles an hour on the interstate, and it’s unrealistic to think that’s safe or legal here,” Hintze said.

Le was placed under arrest for exhibition of speed and taken to Purgatory Correctional Facility.

During the subsequent search of her car, officers found a “large amount” of mail belonging to five or six individuals who did not appear to be related to the driver, and much of it was already opened and contained information that was personal to the addressee.

Officers also found a large amount of cash and narcotics in the vehicle as well.

Le was later booked into jail on multiple offenses, including the original class C misdemeanor charge of exhibition of speed, along with one charge of drug possession and one for theft of mail, both class A misdemeanors.

“I’m glad we did what we did and got her out, and while I’m pretty sure she spoke some English I’m glad that we took precautions, did it the right way and she was taken into custody safely, and no one was hurt,” Hintze said.

The trooper added, “The best part of the situation was the Iron County deputy who was able to get that interpreter on the phone, which really helped us out there.”

Le remains in custody at the writing of this report.

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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3 Comments

  • old school November 2, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Good show! Would be nice to see that kind of diligence on the St George stretch of I15

  • ladybugavenger November 3, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Excellent police work! Good job on getting an interpreter.

    I’m sure she spoke english and knew what they were saying. You know, no speak English is an often used excuse to disobey orders. I find, the police were diligent in getting an interpreter, officers in other places may not have done that and it would have been bad for the driver. Commendable policing.

  • DRT November 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Stupid! Just plain stupid. Why call attention to yourself by driving like a maniac when you have stuff in the car that you know will mean an arrest if you’re stopped? Stupidity.
    Good job to law on getting this one off the road before she killed some innocent motorist.

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