Danger passed through the streets of Utah County for 12 minutes Wednesday as a fleeing man led police from four agencies on a chase from Highland to Provo.
At times, the chase reached speeds of 100 mph through residential areas of American Fork, Orem and Provo. The chase ended shortly after 2 p.m. when the suspect was apprehended after fleeing his disabled vehicle in west Provo.The incident began at about 1 p.m. when Alpine police officers responded to a domestic rape call at a residence in Highland near Alpine Country Club. Alpine Police Lt. Dave McManus said a mailman rang the doorbell and the suspect's wife allegedly came running out the front door. She called police from a neighbor's house.
When officers arrived at the home they telephoned inside several times, but the suspect wouldn't answer. The American Fork Police SWAT team was called to the scene. Officers were evacuating neighboring homes and were preparing to secure a perimeter around the home when the suspect burst out the front door and jumped into his car.
He sped past officers and past a Utah Highway Patrol roadblock at the end of the street, traveling about 60 mph. Two troopers began chasing the suspect through Highland and American Fork. At one point the suspect drove down a dead-end road, but troopers were unable to block his path. Trooper Steven Helm said the suspect was traveling between 70 mph and 100 mph through residential areas.
"He was putting everyone in danger when he was driving those speeds in a residential area. We're fortunate nobody got hurt," Helm said.
The suspect then drove south to I-15. On the interstate, the suspect wove in and out of traffic and down the right-hand emergency lane, again at speeds close to 100 mph.
"He caused several near collisions," Helm said. "I think most drivers saw me following him and pulled out of the way."
The suspect left the interstate at 1600 North in Orem and traveled south on Geneva Road. At this point, more troopers and several Utah County sheriff's deputies had joined the pursuit.
At about 700 N. Geneva Road, the suspect drove over tire spikes set up by sheriff's deputies. Both front tires and one back tire were popped, but the suspect continued driving on flat tires and rims.
He turned east on Center Street in Provo where he attempted to pass a car on the I-15 viaduct, collided with a moving van and forced another car into a wall. No one was injured in the accident, but the suspect's car was severely damaged and was leaking antifreeze.
With several police cars in pursuit and a roadblock ahead, the suspect turned north on 1000 West, but he was now only traveling about 40 mph. After driving one block, the suspect jumped out of his car and fled on foot.
"I think he realized his car wasn't going to go much farther," Helm said.
With troopers in pursuit, the suspect ran behind a trailer and alongside a garage before jumping over a fence into a backyard where he startled a woman sunbathing. Sgt. Les Langford apprehended the suspect at the next home where he was attempting to break into a side door.
Camille Brimhall and several children in her day-care class were standing on the corner of 100 North and 1000 West when the car chase ended and the foot chase began. She said the man appeared crazed and in a panic, and she was concerned about the safety of the children and of residents in the area.
"He looked like a man that had nothing on his mind but getting away," she said.
By the time the chase had ended, 16 police officers from UHP, Alpine, Provo and Utah County were involved.
Police booked a 38-year-old man into the Utah County Jail where he is being held by Adult Probation and Parole for alleged parole violations. In 1988, the man was convicted of possessing a controlled substance and driving under the influence. In April, Alpine Police charged him with spouse abuse. He also was charged with spouse abuse in 1994. McManus said investigators are reviewing Wednesday's allegations, after which, the findings will be turned over to the Utah County Attorney's Office.