Passenger who needed to urinate calls 911 because driver won’t stop

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE A woman’s emergency call requesting that officers stop the vehicle in which she was a passenger triggered an incident Sunday that would eventually involve three agencies, multiple taser deployments, a scuffle with a nearly-naked driver and a trip to jail.

Irving Gomez booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, March 3, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

At 5:45 p.m. the woman called 911 to report that she needed to use the restroom, explaining that the driver of the vehicle wouldn’t stop. She requested that an officer stop the 2010 Subaru Forester traveling north on I-15 near mile marker 13.

Utah Highway Patrol trooper Jeff Adams was in the area and quickly spotted the Subaru, which he began to follow with lights activated to initiate a traffic stop.

Instead of pulling over, the driver, Irving Gomez of Kearns, Utah, continued down the interstate. The front seat passenger, who had called 911, tried pushing on the brake pedal and when that failed was able to bring the car to a stop by applying the emergency brake.

At that point she and another passenger jumped from the car and ran toward the trooper.

They both told him that Gomez was driving erratically. Adams said that according to their account the driver was covering his eyes with his hands, driving without any hands on the steering wheel and swerving toward other vehicles as the Subaru continued north on the interstate at more than 100 mph, prompting the woman’s call to 911.

As the passengers were talking to the trooper, Gomez exited the car with his pants down around his ankles and started walking toward the roadway where “he appeared to be headed straight into the path of oncoming traffic,” Adams reported.

Adams pulled his patrol vehicle closer to where the man was walking and as soon as the defendant noticed he became aggressive and started toward the trooper, who called for back-up and repeatedly ordered Gomez to stop.

When the Gomez failed to comply, Adams deployed the taser more than once, “which had little effect on him,” he said, and a struggle ensued that would last until backup arrived.

“It was probably only about three to four minutes until reinforcements arrived,” Adams said,”but a lot happened during those minutes.”

The first to reach the scene was a LaVerkin Police officer who was off-duty and on his way home when he heard Adams’ request on the radio. He responded to the interstate where he found the trooper still struggling to detain the suspect “who was clearly out of control.”

A Washington County Sheriff’s deputy arrived shortly afterward. The three were able to detain Gomez, who was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center to be treated for scrapes, abrasions and a laceration to his head sustained during the struggle.

“It took all three of us to finally control him, and none of us are small either, so there was something going on with that guy,” Adams said.

It is undetermined whether the suspect was under the influence of a controlled substance, but judging by his behavior it appeared that he was, Adams, said, reiterating that intoxication has yet to be confirmed.

The 911 caller was the owner of the car, he said, so once Gomez was on his way to the hospital she and the second passenger got back in the vehicle and continued their trip.

Gomez was treated at the hospital and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility where he was booked for multiple misdemeanor offenses, including two counts of assault on a police officer, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of failing to stop at an officer’s command and one count of interfering with an arrest.

Adams reflected on the chaotic minutes he spent on I-15 with an out-of-control driver and two passengers who had already had a “harrowing experience.”

He said that while the 911 call seemed odd at the time, it seemed the passenger likely wanted the vehicle stopped due to the danger both occupants were facing.

“Whether she really needed to use the restroom or was more concerned with the suspect’s driving we may never know for sure, but it didn’t really matter at that point because they got the help they needed.”

The officers sustained minor injuries during the incident.

This report is based on statements from police or other 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, 2019, all rights reserved.

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