ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – A man has been arrested after a police pursuit thanks to the help of a citizen chartering a private plane.
The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Colton David Richmond by the St. George Police Department.
Richmond was arrested after leading police on a car chase that went off-road and involved an unwitting passenger. Police first noticed Richmond around 12 a.m. early Sunday morning when he was driving erratically near Black Ridge Drive and Bluff Street in St. George.
Police witnessed Richmond swerving across lanes while traveling south on I-15. At this point, the officer attempts to pull the suspect over but instead of stopping, Richmond continues driving, leading the officer on a pursuit.
At one point, the suspect slowed down to U-turn in a gas station, making eye contact with the officer. He then accelerates at an even greater speed, continuing the pursuit.
Police say Richmond entered a roundabout in the wrong direction and began traveling south on Pioneer Road at a high rate of speed. The officer says Richmond continued driving without any regard to the wrong-way direction.
During the chase, the officer noticed a distressed female passenger. The female called dispatch to report the driver and appeared to be struggling with the driver inside the car.
Richmond eventually lead the officer onto a rocky, off-road area. The officer’s visuals were impaired due to a large amount of dust and drives his vehicle off-road, becoming stuck.
At this point, a private plane flying overhead notices the pursuit and relays information to dispatch regarding the suspect’s movements. The pilot notes the suspect exited the vehicle and began running on foot.
The officer continued the pursuit on foot and was able to safely retrieve the female passenger. The female said Richmond had smacked her in the face when she tried pulling the emergency brake to stop the vehicle.
With the help of K-9s, police eventually discovered Richmond hiding in vegetation near a canyon dip and arrested him.
Upon searching the suspect’s car, syringes filled with what police believe to be heroin were also discovered.
Richmond has been arrested on eight charges including reckless driving, driving on a denied driver’s license, failure to stop or respond at police command, aggravated kidnapping, possession of a controlled substance, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and damage/interruption of a communication device.
The suspect is currently booked at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.