High speed collision may have been intentional

Published: Sunday, Feb. 10 2013 3:35 p.m. MST

SAINT GEORGE — Three people are hospitalized following a high speed chase that began in Arizona and ended in Utah after a driver may have tried to purposely cause a head-on collision.

Authorities said the pursuit started just before 8 a.m. when Arizona troopers attempted to stop a 2007 Honda CRV with Oregon plates for a lane travel violation on northbound I-15 at milepost 5. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit was initiated with speeds reaching 115 miles per hour, said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jacob Hicks.

“When they tried to stop the vehicle, the driver just took off and a pursuit ensued,” he said.

The suspect drove northbound on I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge area for approximately 1.5 miles. Utah troopers were able to deploy road spikes deflating the right side tires on the suspect vehicle, but the pursuit continued, Hicks said.

The suspect crossed the median into the southbound lanes of the freeway in Washington County.

A southbound Subaru was in the left lane and saw the suspect vehicle coming head-on toward them, he said. The Subaru's driver attempted to move to the right and off the shoulder, but the suspect vehicle appeared to swerve into the Subaru, crashing into the driver side rear door and rear quarter panel, he added.

The suspect vehicle rolled several times coming to rest on its wheels approximately 100 feet from the point of impact, down a small embankment.  The driver was ejected from the vehicle landing approximately 30 feet away from where the vehicle came to rest, Hicks said.  Meanwhile, the Subaru came to rest 15 feet off the southbound shoulder.

Hicks said the suspect, Zane Sterling Skeen, 34, was transported by helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas with serious but non-life threatening injuries, while the occupants of the Subaru, Randy and Mary Suker of Sandy, were transported by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Why Skeen fled from police is still unknown at this time, Hicks said. Officials said Skeen had an outstanding felony warrant from his native Oregon and now faces charges in both Arizona and Utah as well.

Hicks said UHP is investigating the crash, while the Arizona Department of Public Safety will conduct the criminal investigation into this latest incident.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS