JUAB COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – The man accused of fleeing from a Juab County crash was believed to be under the influence, according to authorities.
Saturday morning, Utah Highway Patrol was called to a two-vehicle crash along I-15 near mile marker 194. While both motorists involved had spoken with one another after the crash, one driver told dispatch the other had left.
Minutes later, a UHP trooper found the involved vehicle a few miles away. When the trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver allegedly fled. The chase stopped when the suspect’s vehicle became disabled, but the driver then exited the car and ran into the nearby foothills.
According to court documents, the trooper saw the man, later identified as 28-year-old Juan Valencia throw small baggies out of the vehicle before he ran. A K-9 alerted to the odor of narcotics in Valencia’s vehicle and methamphetamine and marijuana were later found inside.
Numerous agencies, K-9 units, and a helicopter were called in to search for the man.
Utah Highway Patrol advised motorists traveling along I-15 in the western county to not pick up any hitchhikers as they continued to search for a man that left the scene of a crash.
Hours later, authorities say they were alerted that Valencia was seen getting into a vehicle with two women. The vehicle was stopped and all three individuals were taken into custody.
The arresting trooper says they were “able to see signs of [Valencia] coming down from a controlled substance.”
According to court documents, Valencia refused chemical tests after being taken to a nearby hospital. He was later booked into the Juan County Jail on multiple charges, including possession of a controlled substance, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, failure to remain at the scene of an accident, and reckless endangerment.