Police say man arrested after high-speed chase in Summit County threatened to kill former U.S. senator
A 36-year-old man was arrested after authorities spiked his vehicle’s tires while he was traveling around 135 mph just outside of Coalville early Wednesday. He told Utah Highway Patrol troopers he had taken LSD and was traveling to Missouri to kill former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, according to a probable cause statement.
Highway Patrol Lt. Nick Street said state investigators continued to work to determine the seriousness of the threat against the former senator, and said he did not know whether the man was armed.
The incident began just east of Kimball Junction around 12:45 a.m., when a parked trooper spotted the vehicle coming toward him eastbound traveling well above 100 mph, according to the statement. The trooper’s radar indicated the vehicle was traveling at 115 mph and it appeared to accelerate away from the squad car after the trooper activated his lights.
The pursuit reached 130 mph on slick roads with lightly falling snow, according to the statement. The driver, from Cottonwood Heights, was overtaking the other vehicles on the road and showing what troopers called a wanton disregard for people and property.
Troopers deployed tire spikes just after the Coalville exit, 14 miles from where the chase began, and Street said the vehicle did not crash as it was brought to a stop. The man said he was traveling 135 mph when he hit the spikes, according to the report. No information was available about what type of vehicle he was driving.
Troopers reported the driver was belligerent and appeared to be intoxicated. He smelled of alcohol and reported that he had ingested Adderall, LSD and beer. Troopers found one empty 12-pack of beer in his vehicle and another that was partially consumed. They also found an unknown substance they believe to be LSD.
The man was taken to the North Summit Fire District station to be evaluated by medical personnel, who cleared him to be taken to jail. He made repeated, adamant threats against McCaskill’s life on the way to the fire station and to the jail, saying he was on his way to Missouri to kill her if she wasn’t dead already, according to the statement.
Street said the State Bureau of Investigations was examining whether the man has ties to extremist groups or a history of violence or weapons violations.
“We obviously take the threat seriously and our State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a threat assessment,” Street said. He added that state officials were working with federal and state agency partners.
“Is this individual, do they belong to any organization that wishes to do harm to elected leaders or try to overthrow our system of government? All of those things kind of build into the assessment,” Street said. “Is this just an empty threat or is this something that we need to engage in more legitimately, as law enforcement and the government?”
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