Colorado suspect injures several in accident
What started as an OnStar call escalated into a very dangerous scenario as law enforcement officers attempted to stop a stolen vehicle Friday.
The OnStar call notified officers of a stolen GMC Yukon traveling west on Interstate 70 near Salina. Included in the notification was information that indicated there was a firearm in the vehicle at the time it was stolen out of the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, area, said Lt. Clay Morgan, Utah Highway Patrol.
The trooper followed the Yukon until a Sevier County Sheriff’s Office deputy joined him.
At that point they activated their lights to pull the vehicle over.
The driver of the Yukon refused to pull over.
“The top speed we clocked him at was about 85 mph,” Morgan said. “It wasn’t really a high speed chase.”
As the chase progressed, Morgan, who was ahead of the Yukon, deployed spikes, which took out two of the vehicle’s tires.
The driver continued to flee police, and drove through a turnaround on the freeway and started heading the wrong direction.
“We knew he wasn’t going to make it far as he was already down to the rim on at least one tire,” Morgan said.
The driver then took an exit the wrong way, which resulted in a collision between the Yukon and a Ford pickup that was entering the freeway near Sevier.
“Fortunately it kind of sideswiped it,” Morgan said. Due to the collision, the Yukon veered off the roadway and rolled three times.
The driver of the Yukon then left the vehicle and jumped a fence to avoid capture.
“We began containing the area,” Morgan said. The driver was located a few minutes later in the cab of a Utah Department of Transportation truck and was taken into custody.
The gun from the Yukon was located inside the UDOT truck.
The driver, Anthony Wheeler, 19, Denver, Colorado, was booked into Sevier County Jail on charges of fleeing and causing serious bodily injuries to another person, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a restricted person.
The driver of the pickup Wheeler hit, Carla Engel, 55, received minor injuries in the accident.
Three juveniles and two other 19-year-olds in the suspect vehicle were also injured in the accident. Two of the juveniles were later transported to a Wasatch Front area hospital for treatment of injuries.
Wheeler was found to have a history of criminal offenses in his background, including other stolen vehicles.
The other people in the vehicle were not charged.
“He had told them that our policy was that we couldn’t pursue them after 15 minutes,” Morgan said. “That’s not true.”