ST. GEORGE — A semitractor-trailer driver was arrested near the Utah-Arizona border in St. George Sunday afternoon after authorities discovered warrants for his arrest stemming from rape allegations.
Utah Highway Patrol arrested 54-year-old Thorpe Steele, of Alvin, Texas, on the northbound side of the Interstate 15 port of entry inspection exit at approximately 2:20 p.m. The arrest was made without incident for two outstanding warrants.
During a routine inspection of the semi the man was driving, Arizona Department of Transportation authorities checking his identification discovered the warrants for his arrest out of Salt Lake County and contacted Utah troopers to make the arrest, UHP Sgt. Jake Hicks told St. George News.
Steele’s warrants stem from first-degree felony charges of alleged rape and forcible sodomy after an adult woman told West Valley City Police that Steele had sexually assaulted her in his semi at a CR England Trucking facility in Salt Lake County July 3, 2017.
Steele was training the woman at the time of the alleged attack, according to a probable cause statement by West Valley City Police authorities written in support of the arrest warrants.
The woman told police Steele was showing her the inside of his truck when he mentioned he had several knives and told her “What happens in the truck stays in the truck,” according to the police statement.
“When they entered the sleeping area of the truck, Steele grabbed the front of her pants and forced his hands into her pants.”
The woman allegedly told Steele to stop, but he then threw her on the bed and told her to undress. According to the police statement, the woman said she protested, but he told her “No was not an option,” then grabbed her hair and made her undress.
The woman told police Steele then locked the truck, closed the blinds, pinned her to the bed and sexually assaulted her.
In a post-Miranda statement, police said, Steele claimed the sex was consensual.
Steele has no prior records of criminal history in Utah.
Troopers transported Steele to Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane where he remains in custody at the time of this report with bail requirements of $200,000.
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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