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UHP: Wrong-way driver was smoking meth during chase

The termination point (5300 S) of a wrong way driver from Dec. 7 on I-80 and I-15. Courtesy UHP

By Bob Mims

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Dec 10 2012 09:15AM
Updated Dec 11, 2012 09:28AM

A man who led police on a wild wrong-way chase on Interstates 80 and 15 appeared to have been smoking methamphetamine as he tried to elude pursuing Utah Highway Patrol troopers.

During the chase last Friday afternoon, the 52-year-old Taylorsville man — whose two decades old criminal record includes past drug-related violations as well as assaulting an officer and forgery — was seen by troopers puffing on a glass pipe allegedly loaded with the drug.

On Monday, the suspect remained in Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $19,460 bail. His booking entry included charges ranging from third-degree felony counts of fleeing police while causing property damage and possession of a controlled substance to misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, reckless endangerment and driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

UHP Cpl. Todd Johnson said the suspect’s 1995 Jeep Cherokee was first spotted traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-80 near 700 East late Friday morning. A pursuit began and continued in the wrong-way lanes of I-80 and I-15, eventually ending when troopers executed a PIT maneuver — purposely collided with the Jeep on 5300 South westbound and pinning it against a utility pole.

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