ST. GEORGE – A juvenile driving a car, later reported as stolen, led Utah Highway Patrol and St. George Police officers on a pursuit Wednesday morning, which culminated with a foot chase through a Valley View neighborhood. Throughout the course of the chase, officers recovered two stolen vehicles and the juvenile was caught and taken into custody. Nearby Sunset Elementary was put on lockout from approximately 9-9:30 a.m. until the police contacted the school and cleared them to continue with normal operations.
The pursuit began at approximately 8:20 a.m., by Utah Highway Patrol trooper Joe Pastor, who tried to pull over a blue BMW off Exit 5 in St. George for speeding. The vehicle stopped for a brief period but then took off again and got away from the trooper.
Troopers coordinated with St. George Police officers and tracked down the address listed on the vehicle’s license. The stolen BMW was found to be returned to the address, but upon investigation, it was found that another vehicle from the residence had also been stolen. Once officers made contact with the owner and received a description of the second stolen vehicle, they began pursuit.
The juvenile was located a short time later in an area near Valley View and 400 North, Pastor said. The suspect had abandoned the vehicle. The police began a neighborhood foot-pursuit with the suspect that lasted approximately 30 minutes. Officers set up a perimeter and chased the suspect through the neighborhood until finally catching him around 9:25 a.m.
“After … searching the area for him and a couple foot pursuits where we lost sight of him,” Pastor said, “our containment was able to keep him in an area where we were eventually able to apprehend him.”
Sunset Elementary is approximately three blocks south of the border of the contained area.
During the lockout at Sunset Elementary, administrators reported that all the children were fine – most didn’t even realize what was going on.
“It was fast and quick and the police department took care of us really well,” Sunset Elementary Staff Developer Talia Vaughn told St. George News.
A lockout designation allows the teachers to run their classrooms as normal, but the children are not allowed to go outside. During today’s lockout, all the children who were in satellite classrooms were brought inside the main building while regular school activities continued, Vaughn said.
Ed. note: Juveniles involved in incidents as victims, accused, witnesses or otherwise are not named in light of privacy considerations.
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St. George News Editors Joyce Kuzmanic and Mori Kessler contributed to this report.
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