ST. GEORGE — A report of illegal camping led to a pursuit that started in Arizona and ultimately ended in an arrest on Interstate 15 in Washington County Tuesday afternoon.

Stock image of BLM ranger trucks gathered in Clark County, Nevada, April 1, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

The incident began shortly after noon when a Bureau of Land Management ranger responded to a desolate area along the Arizona strip on a report of someone camping in the area.

The ranger told the suspect, who was wanted on a felony warrant issued out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he needed to leave. During the call, a background check indicated the man had an active warrant for his arrest. When confronted about the warrant, the suspect got into the vehicle and fled the area, with the federal agent in tow.

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams said agencies in Southern Utah received a broadcast to be on alert for a suspect driving a white Pontiac with Wisconsin plates and heading north on I-15.

The alert also indicated the vehicle had a couple of kayaks on the luggage rack and two dogs in the vehicle.

As the pursuit crossed into Utah, multiple agencies became involved, including Williams and Washington City Lt. Kory Klotz, both of whom headed towards I-15 to assist. A deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office deployed a set of spike strips just south of Exit 16.

Within minutes of deployment, Williams said the spike strips punctured all four of the suspect’s tires, which disabled the vehicle and ultimately ended the pursuit.

Sgt. Lucas Alfred with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said the strips were deployed by one of the department’s K-9 handlers, adding, “It was a textbook perfect job by the deputy to bring the chase to a conclusion — he knew exactly what to do,” Alfred said. “The K-9 was also ready if needed, but the suspect was taken into custody without further assistance.”

The suspect was detained by officers in Washington City and then was turned over to the custody of the BLM agent to be transported to jail for charges related to the pursuit, as well as on the Wisconsin warrant.

The out-of-state warrant that likely set off the chain of events was issued out of Milwaukee County on July 20 on a felony domestic abuse case. The charge was enhanced since it involved an elderly victim, according to court documents filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Klotz told St. George News that all of the officers from the various agencies assisted in ending the pursuit safely with the suspect in custody.

St. George News contacted the Bureau of Land Management for comment, a request that went unanswered at the time of this report.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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