California man leads deputies on high-speed pursuit on I-15 in Washington County

Utah Highway Patrol and Washington County Sheriff's Office stop vehicle on I-15 southbound near mm 14 after high-speed pursuit that ends in arrest Saturday afternoon, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 25, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A reported crash ended in arrest after a driver led authorities on a high-speed pursuit through Washington County on both sides of Interstate 15 Saturday afternoon.

Southbound I-15 near Exit 13 where pursuit ended for Washington County Deputies assisted by UHP Saturday afternoon, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 25, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 3 p.m. officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to what was initially reported as a possible single-vehicle crash on northbound Interstate 15 at mile marker 36 involving a white Toyota Prius.

Medical personnel arrived and were checking the driver, later identified as Luis Antonio Fraga, of Palmdale, Califorina, for injuries when Fraga got back into his vehicle and drove away, continuing north on the interstate, Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Nate Abbott said.

Once officers arrived, they were advised by the medical personnel that the driver showed signs of possible impairment before he drove off, Abbott said, prompting deputies to attempt to locate Fraga.

“Medical even told the deputies that while they were checking the man, he had several items on the roof of his vehicle so when he jumped in his car and took off, those items flew off the roof and scattered, and deputies found the articles along the roadway later,” Abbott said.

The deputies continued north on I-15 and located the Toyota. They attempted to stop the car but the driver failed to pull over and instead cut through the median before turning left into the turnout reserved for emergency vehicles.

Fraga then entered the southbound side of the interstate where he accelerated down the highway at speeds in excess of 105 miles per hour, Abbott said, with officers close behind.

Utah Highway Patrol and Washington County Sheriff’s Office stop vehicle on I-15 after high-speed pursuit that ends in arrest Saturday afternoon, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 25, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The Toyota then hit spike strips that were deployed by officers at mile marker 17 seconds before, and even as the vehicle’s tires shredded, the car continued south until Fraga, unable to go any further, pulled off of the interstate at mile marker 14.

Fraga was taken into custody without incident.

During a search of Fraga’s car, officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside of the car, Abbott said.

Fraga was later booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility and faces multiple charges, including one third-degree felony count of evading, as well as driving under the influence, reckless driving, drug possession/marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, all class B misdemeanors.

Fraga remains in custody at the time of this report.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington City Police Department, Utah Highway Patrol and Hurricane Valley Fire and Ambulance responded and tended to the incident.

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.

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  • ladybugavenger November 26, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Judging his booking photo, that is not just a marijuana man. That is a meth/heroin man.

  • utahdiablo November 27, 2017 at 6:50 am

    We need 10 times the law enforcement here in Washington county now because of these …*….you need to get ahead of the problem people, not behind as we already are

    *Ed. ellipsis.

  • Caveat_Emptor November 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

    As many times before, we see a great cooperative effort between UHP, and Washington County, catching these folks before they cause more problems.

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