NEAR WENDOVER (ABC4 Utah News) – A brief escape attempt in a stolen Utah Highway Patrol cruiser was captured by the vehicle’s own dash cam.
It started when a Mazda went off Interstate 80 and rolled over near Wendover on Sunday morning, July 30th. The responding UHP trooper found the driver and passenger unhurt but the car had been reported stolen.
The trooper’s dash cam shows him handcuffing 28 year old Tommy Rodriguez of West Valley City who he places in the backseat of his car and 32 year old Brandy Willes of Kearns who goes into the front passenger seat. Before he resumes his investigation he leaves them with a warning.
“Everything in here is being recorded,” the trooper says. “If you want to talk that’s fine but it is being recorded. I just want to make sure you know your rights before you start talking to each other.”
UHP Sergeant Todd Royce explains what happened next.
“The female, she’s handcuffed in the back, slips her cuffs into the front and then scoots across the console, puts the car into drive and drives off,” Sgt. Royce said.
Willes tries to turn off the dash cam but it’s triggered to keep recording.
“She his the button, the autofocus and it loses focus,” Sgt. Royce said.
The now blurry video shows them speeding eastbound toward Salt Lake City, passing cars as if they were standing still.
“They get up over 130 miles per hour in the patrol car,” Sgt. Royce said.
At one point, Rodriguez wants to feel the breeze.
“Roll down the back windows,” he’s recorded saying.
Several minutes later Willes stopped the car and she and Rodriguez tried to make a run for it on foot but they didn’t get very far.
“There was another law enforcement aircraft that was in the area, spotted them, knew where they were at,” Sgt. Royce said. “DPS helicopter comes out, takes them back into custody.”
Their extra hour of freedom could now cost the pair extra years of prison time.
“This is just an unfortunate event,” Sgt. Royce said. “But people choose their actions and in this case they chose actions that got them into a lot of trouble.”
Willes and Rodriguez face charges of vehicle theft, escaping police custody and possession of drug paraphernalia.