TOOELE COUNTY, Utah, July 30, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Two suspects have been arrested after they stole a Utah Highway Patrol trooper’s patrol car on Interstate 80 in Tooele County Sunday morning.
The suspects have been identified as Tommy Rodriguez, 28, from West Valley City and Brady Willes, 32, from Kearns, according to a news release from the Utah Highway Patrol.
The incident took place at approximately 9:30 a.m. at milepost 21, which is about 20 miles east of Wendover, according to the news release.
“A Mazda passenger car was traveling eastbound on I-80 and drifted off the left side of the road,” the news release said. “The driver overcorrected and the vehicle rotated sideways as it went off the right side of the road. The vehicle rolled multiple times.”
A trooper was on scene within ten minutes of the crash. Another motorist in a pickup truck was on scene at the time the trooper arrived.
“The two occupants, male and female, from the Mazda were loading personal belongings into the assisting motorist’s truck,” the news release goes on. “The Mazda was reported stolen. The trooper took the male and female into custody for the stolen car and placed them in his car after securing them both in handcuffs behind their backs.”
The trooper stepped away from his car to retrieve the items from the truck when his patrol car was driven away by the female, Willes, that was in custody.
Rodriguez and Willes drove to mile post 24 on I-80 and pulled off the road then fled south into the desert.
The assisting motorist lent the trooper their truck so he could send additional information to responding units. He caught up to his patrol car as the suspects were fleeing on foot.
A Utah County Sheriffs Office fixed wing aircraft assisting with a search and rescue operation responded and was able to locate the suspects. The DPS helicopter, Grantsville City PD canine, Tooele County Sheriff’s Office, area troopers, and the Utah State Bureau of Investigation responded to assist.
Troopers responded on the frontage road near where the two escapees were waiting. Using the DPS helicopter to call them out, both were safely taken into custody.
Rodriguez was taken by ground ambulance for possible breathing problems, potentially from asthma, drug use, or the crash.