ST. GEORGE – Former NASCAR racer Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker appeared in 5th District Court Thursday and pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges connected to a high-speed chase that cut through three states and was ultimately brought to an end in Utah in early 2013.
Walker, 35, of Hermosa Beach, California, appeared before Judge Eric Ludlow with attorney Trevor Terry and pleaded guilty to two third-degree felonies for failure to respond to an officer and possession of methamphetamine; two class B misdemeanors for possession of drug paraphernalia and impaired driving; and a class C misdemeanor for driving with an open container of alcohol.
Ludlow accepted the plea and ordered a pre-sentencing investigation that will look into the circumstances surrounding Walker’s arrest. A sentencing hearing was then scheduled for Feb. 23.
A warrant issued Dec. 2 for Walker’s arrest was also recalled by the court.
“I just want to thank everyone that’s helped me … and also apologize to everybody,” Walker said outside the courtroom, “all the police, everybody that was on the road.”
Walker and a companion, Raelle Hann McDonald, also of Hermosa Beach, California, were arrested Jan. 30, 2013, after leading law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase on Interstate 15 from Nevada through Arizona and into Utah.
The chase began early that morning after a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper clocked the BMW Walker was driving at over 140 mph. The NHP gave chase, followed by units with Arizona Department of Public Safety and Utah Highway Patrol.
Walker’s car was spiked by troopers, and the BMW finally came to a stop around milepost 6 on northbound I-15 in Utah. Walker reportedly attempted to flee on foot and was caught by Arizona DPS troopers. Both Walker and McDonald were taken into custody.
As information surrounding the Jan. 30, 2013, incident came to light, it was learned that Walker was a professional race car driver who had raced on the NASCAR circuit and other racing circuits. Walker was suspended from NASCAR racing in 2007 for alleged drug use.
Terry said his client has undergone “some extensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse issues.”
“I feel better now,” Walker said. “I’m in a lot better place.”
Walker said he has been working with neurologists and psychiatrists on “extensive brain work.” He said he has had multiple injuries to his frontal lobe that have had an adverse effect on him.
Terry said Walker’s previous substance abuse was a way his client had learned to cope with issues possibly related to his injuries.
“I’ve learned now why things were the way they were, so now I can keep working on improving,” Walker said. “I look normal on the outside and everything, but I have some sickness in my brain that (I can) control with medication.”
Depending on how the court handles Walker’s sentencing, he could potentially face up to five years in prison, which is the maximum recommended penalty attached to a third-degree felony, along with a $5,000 fine. The class B misdemeanors individually carry a potential sentence of six months in jail with a $1,000 fine each. The class C misdemeanor comes with a possible 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Walker’s companion, McDonald, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges in May and was sentenced to 36 months of probation. Walker said the two are no longer together.
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