3 Colorado juveniles in custody after high-speed chase ends in crash in St. George

ST. GEORGE — Three juveniles from Colorado were safely taken into custody following a high-speed chase that ended after their vehicle crashed near Exit 2 on Interstate 15 Thursday morning, police said.

Washington City Police Lt. Kory Klotz said the incident began when dispatchers received a call at around 10 a.m. from a mother in Grand Junction, Colorado who said her teenage son had run away and was possibly with two other male juveniles.

“She was tracking him via his cell phone,” Klotz said.

He added that as the vehicle passed through the Beaver and Cedar City area, she called the local dispatch center. 

“Our officer, seeing that call, contacted the mother, got a hold of her, and let her know, ‘Hey, we’re watching for them,’” he said. 

Shortly thereafter, a Washington City police officer got on southbound I-15 at Exit 16 and soon spotted the suspect vehicle, a red Chevrolet Equinox with Colorado plates, Klotz said. The officer ran the license plate and confirmed it was the same car that had been reported stolen.

The chase continued on southbound I-15 for several miles, with speeds reaching more than 100 mph, Klotz said, adding that the vehicle was alternately speeding up and slowing down.

“At times they slowed to the shoulder and then would accelerate again, probably trying to figure out what they were going to do,” he said.

Then, as it sped past the Exit 2 off-ramp, the vehicle lost its front passenger tire when it struck a curb in the median, Klotz said. The three teenagers then exited the car and took off on foot. 

One reportedly ran to a nearby convenience store while another scaled a retaining wall to the south of SunRiver Parkway. However, all three teenagers were soon apprehended by law enforcement, Klotz said, adding that detectives in an unmarked vehicle assisted in the pursuit, as did officers from the St. George Police Department.

“At this point, we have all three juveniles detained. They’re going to go into detention after medical clearance from the accident,” he said. None of the three reported any injuries. 

“No force was used to detain them or anything,” Klotz said. “Our understanding is that it seems like they’re all going to be in good shape.”

As for possible charges stemming from the incident, Klotz said the case is still under investigation, but it’s likely the suspects could face charges of evading police, reckless driving and possible charges related to unspecified “contraband” found during a search of the vehicle. Additionally, one of the suspects is believed to be on probation and is not legally allowed to leave Colorado, Klotz added. 

Klotz said having a direct line of communication between the teen’s mother and the responding officer helped lead to a successful outcome.

“It was his initiative to call the mother because she had just contacted dispatch,” Klotz said of the officer. “So, he called the mother and got specific information, which led us to be able to find them.”

“It worked out really well. I mean, luckily, everybody’s safe and going to get back to their parents,” he added. 

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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