Rangers in Grand Teton National Park used road spikes Sunday to stop a vehicle that failed to pull over for a traffic stop, the second time in three weeks that the tactic has been used by park law enforcement officers.
A driver on U.S. Highway 26/89/191 did not pull over shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday when a ranger attempted to stop the motorist for crossing the center line, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
The driver, A 57-year-old Victorville, Calif. man whose name was not released, did not yield, and increased his speed instead.
The ranger called for backup in stopping the 2002 Ford pickup, which did not stop, and traveled at up to 60 mph in a 45 mph zone.
Two rangers responded, and placed road spikes across the highway near Triangle X Ranch. The spike strips, which puncture a vehicle’s tires when driven across, were successful in slowing the fleeing vehicle. But the driver continued traveling on flat tires before coming to a stop near Cunningham Cabin, nearly one mile beyond the road spikes.
Park officials say the pursuing ranger saw the driver toss an object from the truck window just before the vehicle came to a stop. An additional ranger and drug dog responded to search for the tossed item, which was found and reported by authorities to be a controlled substance.
The driver was arrested for interference with agency functions and charged with several additional violations: operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs; refusing to submit to a blood alcohol and/or drug test; and possession of a controlled substance.
Park officials said the driver had no current warrants, but has “a lengthy criminal history.” He was taken into custody and placed in the Teton County jail pending an appearance before the federal magistrate.
Sunday’s arrest marks the second time within the last month that park rangers have used spike strips to stop a fleeing vehicle.
The first incident occurred July 15 when the Jackson Police Department requested the park’s assistance in stopping a driver suspected of drunk driving. The 19-year-old female driver of that vehicle reached speeds of 90 mph before crossing a spike strip near the Jackson Hole Airport Junction on Highway 89. She was taken into custody by Jackson police officers and remains in jail on multiple federal charges.
Neither incident resulted in any injuries.
Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].