Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 22, 2014
Officers chase vehicle on I-80

A Salt Lake City man was arrested Monday after he allegedly led police on a short high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle.

Lt. Don Lininger of the West Wendover Police Department, said early Monday morning a West Wendover resident reported  his car had just been stolen.

“The victim had called the police when he went outside of his apartment and observed his own vehicle leaving the area, but he wasn’t able to say who took it or how many people were in the vehicle,” Lininger said.

Officers from West Wendover tracked the car to the parking lot of Montego Bay Casino and Resort, which falls on the Utah side of the border. Lininger said the first officer saw at least one person run from the vehicle, and eventually detained three people for deputies from the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office for questioning.

Meanwhile, he said, the driver in the stolen vehicle drove away, and West Wendover officers gave chase until officers from the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office and Utah Highway Patrol took over.

Sgt. Nathan Powell of the Utah Highway Patrol said the vehicle, a 1995 Honda, took pursuing officers on a chase on eastbound Interstate 80. Although troopers tried to lay down spikes along the freeway to stop the car, traffic conditions did not permit them to do so safely, he said.

Thirteen miles into Utah, though, the chase came to a stop when the stolen car’s engine failed, Powell said.

“The chase came to an end because the engine in the car blew up,” he said. “[The driver] just had it floored the whole way, 110 miles per hour the whole way. That engine had enough and it blew up and was smoking.”

The car came to a stop, and driver, identified as 19-year-old Fernando Garcia of Salt Lake, came with officers peacefully, Powell said.

According to a probable cause statement, Garcia failed a field sobriety test given after the chase, and a sample of his blood was taken for testing for substances. Garcia told officers he had used methamphetamine and marijuana the night before in Salt Lake before coming to Wendover, according to the statement.

Garcia was arrested and booked into the Tooele County Detention Center. He was charged Tuesday with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; failure to stop or respond at the command of police, a third-degree felony; and driving with a measurable controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor. No court date had been scheduled as of Wednesday.

Powell said the resolution of the reported theft and chase — a peaceful arrest and no injuries — was optimal for the situation.

“We like endings like that,” he said. “I wish they’d never start, but once they do start, I like them to end like that.” 

Lisa Christensen

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Lisa covers primarily crime and courts, military affairs, Stansbury Park government and transportation issues. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she double-majored in journalism and music, and Grantsville High School.

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