ST. GEORGE — After a man wouldn’t let his wife out of the car, police chased him down Interstate 15 until his car smashed into a truck carrying boulders Wednesday in St. George.
It started when a woman was trying to wave down traffic for help from the passenger seat of a Chevrolet Tahoe southbound on I-15 near mile marker 40, according to a press release from the Utah Highway Patrol.
A UHP trooper located the “suspicious vehicle” near mile marker 21 and tried to make a traffic stop.
That’s when the driver of the Tahoe sped away and the pursuit began, police said. St. George Police and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies assisted UHP in chasing down the Tahoe.
The chase came to a sudden stop at about mile marker 4 when the Tahoe struck the side of a semitractor-trailer carrying boulders at about 40 mph. Dash cam footage from a UHP vehicle shows the truck pulling in front of the Tahoe into the left shoulder of the freeway before the crash.
See video of dash cam footage above.
“It appears that the semi-truck was swerving to the left to avoid stopping traffic ahead of it,” reads the UHP press release. “It happened to pull right in front of the Tahoe and the crash occurred.”
Police then conducted a felony stop and the driver was arrested without further incident. The suspect was identified as Luis Carlos Martinez-Ramirez, 36, of Bakersfield, California. He was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The woman who was waving for help from the car suffered a minor injury from the crash, but she refused medical treatment at the scene. There was also an infant in the car who was uninjured.
After a preliminary investigation by UHP, police discovered that the man and the woman were married, but they were separated. The woman is from Orem, and when Martinez-Ramirez came to visit her, police said he took the woman and the baby for a drive. He started driving south on I-15, and the woman knew something was wrong near Fillmore.
She begged to get out of the car, but police said Martinez-Ramirez would not let her out of the car. The woman was released after conducting an interview with police.
According to Google Maps, it’s about a four-hour drive from Orem to St. George.
St. George Fire Department also responded to the scene.
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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