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Former NASCAR driver arrested in Utah after high-speed chase

Published February 1, 2013 9:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Charges have been filed against a former NASCAR driver and a woman who led police on a high-speed chase through Nevada, Arizona and Utah on Wednesday.

Tyler Walker, 33, was charged Thursday in state court in St. George, Utah, with three felony counts: failure to stop for police and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Each count carries up to five years in prison.

Walker, who was suspended from the racing organization in 2007 for violating its substance abuse policy, and Raelle Hann McDonald, 29, were arrested after he drove a 2007 BMW 750 Li sedan over tire spike strips laid by Utah Highway Patrol troopers. The chase, which reached estimated speeds of 140 miles per hour, began about 7:30 a.m. in Nevada, where state troopers failed to pull the car over for speeding.

According a probable cause statement filed in 5th District Court, a UHP trooper wrote that when Walker's vehicle passed the Utah state line, two Arizona Highway Patrol vehicles and two Nevada Highway Patrol troopers were trailing the BMW.

Two miles inside Utah on Interstate 15, UHP troopers spread the spike strips in front of the BMW and punctured all its tires.

Walker drove the car another 1 1/2 miles before stopping, according to the probable cause statement. However, when the UHP trooper attempted to approach the BMW, Walker allegedly sped off again, reaching over 80 miles per hour on flat tires.

After several miles, the BMW's rear tire blew, the UHP trooper wrote. Walker then came to a stop, but not before attempting to pull onto an exit ramp.

According to UHP, Walker attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended.

A subsequent search of the BMW allegedly turned up methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. An open bottle of vodka was allegedly found on the front passenger floor board, according to UHP.

Besides the felonies, Walker is charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful transportation of alcohol and open container in a vehicle. Walker was released from the Washington County, Utah, jail Wednesday after he posted $18,020 bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday in St. George.

Walker's passenger, Raelle Hann McDonald, was also charged Thursday with two felony and one misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, along with possession of drug paraphernalia and open container.

Walker competed in 28 races during his NASCAR career, including the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. His one top-10 finish came in 2007.

Last July, Walker was suspended from a race at Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania following an obscenity-laced tirade toward race officials in pit row. It eventually escalated into a fight in Walker's pit.

Twitter: #UtahCrime