TOOELE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – The man and woman accused of crashing a stolen car and then stealing a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper’s vehicle, have been taken into custody.
According to UHP, at 9:24 a.m. Sunday, 28-year-old Tommy Rodriguez of West Valley City, and 32-year-old Brady Willes of Kearns, were involved in a single-vehicle rollover on eastbound I-80 at milepost 21. UHP told ABC4 Utah that people driving by in a pick up truck stopped to help the two. The good samaritans were asked not to call police, but UHP was already notified of the crash.
“Once the trooper arrived on scene he found out pretty quickly by running the plate that the car was stolen, and was able to take the male and female of the crashed stolen vehicle into custody,” explained Evan Kirby, Trooper, Utah Highway Patrol.
According to Kirby, the responding officer placed the suspects in handcuffs behind their back. Rodriguez was placed in the back seat of the patrol car in the single cage, and Willes was placed in the front.
“After he had them in handcuffs and in the car, he went back to start getting their personal belongings out of the truck, so he can start inventorying everything that they had,” Kirby said.
Next thing you know, the patrol car was heading on I-80 toward Salt Lake City — UHP assumes driven by the woman, Willes.
The good samaritans were still on the scene and offered up their Ford F-250 to the officer to pursue the pair.
“Almost immediately after catching up to the vehicle they pull over here at about milepost 24,” said Kirby.
Kirby went on to say that the suspects got out of the patrol car and tan off toward train tracks. The trooper lost site of the two and called off the chase. A search and rescue plane was flying in the area on a separate assignment and joined in on the hunt for the suspects.
The plane located the two, who were still handcuffed, in the desert just beyond the train tracks.
Rodriguez and Willes were taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries before they were taken into custody.
The State Bureau of Investigation is taking over the case. According to UHP, it will be a while before we know the charges.