Wrong-way chase on I-40 ends with trucker being shot


Arizona State Police ended a chase Friday, Oct. 25, morning by shooting the driver of a tractor-trailer who bolted from a routine traffic stop and drove the wrong way on Interstate 40.

A statement from the Arizona Department of Public Safety says a trooper stopped a tractor-trailer for a commercial vehicle inspection east of Flagstaff and saw the truck’s driver and passenger “suspiciously switch places with each other.”

During the inspection, police say a citizen alerted the trooper that one of the occupants of the truck threw something into the median before the stop. Troopers later discovered a package filled with a powdery substance in the median. While the two occupants were outside of the truck, one was able to get back into the cab of the truck and flee from the traffic stop.

Troopers began pursuing the suspect who drove through the median several times in order to avoid tire deflation devices deployed by troopers. During the pursuit, the suspect attempted to run into troopers in order to avoid apprehension, according to the police statement. As the pursuit continued, the suspect crossed the median and drove the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of I-40.

“The suspect’s dangerous actions immediately placed the lives of the motoring public and pursuing troopers in peril,” said the troopers’ statement.

A trooper was on the Walnut Canyon Road overpass of I-40, and as the suspect approached the overpass, the trooper fired his rifle at the suspect, wounding him. The truck decelerated and struck another truck. Injuries from this collision were minor, according to police.

The suspect, a 35-year-old male from Virginia, was treated for his injuries at a hospital and is expected to recover. Charges against the suspect include multiple counts of endangerment, aggravated assault, possession of narcotics, and unlawful flight.

The suspect has a history of arrests in several states related to drugs, violent crimes, and weapon violations, according to police.