Truck driver arrested for DUI, evading following 20-mile pursuit on I-15 in semi with shredded tires

2020 file photo of police vehicles at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 15 near Exit 40, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 2, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/ Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — An Illinois man was arrested over the weekend following a 20-mile pursuit by authorities on Interstate 15 while driving a semitractor-trailer with two shredded tires. The suspect remains in custody on multiple charges, including felony evading and DUI.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, on Sunday night shortly after 10 p.m., a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy received a report of a blue semi truck headed north on I-15 pulling a white trailer with a blown rear tire. The vehicle was reportedly swerving “all over the place,” the deputy noted.

The person who contacted police told emergency dispatch they had followed the vehicle for several miles, but the driver showed no signs of stopping.

The sheriff’s deputy spotted a truck matching the description of the semi near mile marker 27 just north of Leeds and noticed there were two blown tires on the rear of the trailer. He reported that the semi continued swerving in and out of the travel lane. When he activated his lights and siren and attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the truck continued north.

To ensure that the driver was aware there was a patrol vehicle behind him, the deputy pulled alongside the truck and motioned to the driver several times to pull over.

“I called out that I was in pursuit and continued to attempt to get him to pull over,” the deputy recounted in the report, adding that the driver still didn’t stop.

The deputy continued pursuing the semi for more than 20 miles before deputies managed to get the truck pulled over, at which point the driver reportedly stepped out of the truck and, instead of complying with the officers’ commands, started walking toward the deputy, swaying and having difficulty maintaining his balance as he did so.

The deputy also noted that the driver repeatedly refused to comply with his commands, including the order to place his hands on his head and get on the ground. The suspect also appeared confused and had bloodshot eyes. As deputies restrained him and placed him in handcuffs, the deputy wrote, they noticed the distinct odor of alcohol coming from his breath.

Inside of the semi’s cab deputies recovered an open container of alcohol that still contained “a drinkable amount” of alcohol in the can, and when the deputy advised the driver that he would be run through a series of field sobriety tests, the suspect refused to do the tests “because he wasn’t going to pass,” the deputy wrote.

When asked if he had been drinking, the deputy said the suspect initially told the deputy he had not but later said he had been drinking.

The deputy determined that the suspect was “not capable of safely operating a motor vehicle.”

The man was later identified as 38-year-old Grzegorz Paul Wroblewski of Elmwood Park, Illinois. Authorities later discovered was driving on a suspended commercial driver’s license. His standard license was also suspended, the deputy wrote.

Wroblewski was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked on multiple charges, including third-degree felony evading, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on a suspended CDL and reckless driving, each a misdemeanor. According to the probable cause statement, Wroblewski also has a pending DUI case in Illinois.

District Judge Michael G. Westfall signed the order to hold the suspect without bail and Wroblewski remains in custody at this time.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.

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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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