Multiple law enforcement agencies led by the Utah Highway Patrol closed down a major section of I-70 Thursday morning when a female driver pulled a handgun following a high speed pursuit.
The incident began when a UHP Trooper observed a Geo Tracker traveling Eastbound on I-70 between Richfield and Salina on March 7 at 8:33 a.m. The Trooper ran the license plate of the Geo and found that it belonged to another vehicle. He then attempted to make a traffic stop, but the vehicle sped up and a pursuit was initiated.
Speeds reached between 80-90 mph until milepost 119 on I-70, when spikes were deployed by the UHP causing two tires on the Geo to deteriorate. The incident occurred on the east bound side of I-70 between Eagle Canyon bridge and the Ghost Rocks in Emery County.
Despite the flat tires, the vehicle continued a short distance causing the Trooper to utilize the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT Maneuver) which successfully stopped the Geo.
As the Trooper approached the vehicle, he observed the driver holding a handgun up to her chin. The driver was identified by the UHP as Jaime L. Warhurst, 36, of Unk City, Miss. Warhust was alone in the vehicle, according to the UHP.
The Trooper backed off to cover until additional troopers including UHP supervisor Sgt. Rich Haycock, who is trained in negotiating, arrived on scene and began communicating with Warhurst.
The female driver put down the handgun at 12:20 p.m. and surrendered into police custody. Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk said it is not known why the female ran but it is possible she had outstanding warrants. "The negotiator did an excellent job," he explained.
The female was transported by ambulance to the Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield and later booked into the Richfield County Jail. She was examined on scene by Emery County EMTs who determined she needed medical attention.
Funk said his deputies responded to the area to help with the incident and also did an excellent job. I-70 East was closed to prevent traffic from entering the incident area. The vehicle was removed from the scene and is being processed. The handgun was found inside the vehicle.