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1 arrested, 1 on the run following casino robbery, chase that reached 130 mph

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 10:25 a.m. MST

HERRIMAN — Police arrested a man Thursday who they say robbed a Wendover casino and then led officers from multiple jurisdictions on a chase from Tooele County to Herriman, which at times reached speeds of 130 mph.

Detectives continued to look for an accomplice who apparently bailed out of the vehicle during the chase.

The incident began shortly after midnight when the Montego Bay Casino in West Wendover was robbed. After the robbery, police issued an "attempt to locate" notification for all surrounding agencies. A short time later, a trooper spotted the wanted vehicle on I-80, said Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Corey Nye.

The driver refused to pull over, and at one point the fleeing car "reached speeds over 130 mph," a Tooele County Jail report states.

Near Lake Point, UHP troopers attempted to stop the vehicle using tire spikes. Nye said the driver got off at the exit prior to hitting the spikes and then got back onto the freeway. He did not know if the suspects had a police radio in their vehicle.

At one point just west of Stansbury Park, a passenger threw items out the window. As of Thursday afternoon, those items had not been recovered and Nye did not know what those items were or if a gun used in the robbery was among them.

The chase continued onto the Bangerter Highway and then onto California Avenue. Once the suspects ran a red light on California, Nye said the pursuit was terminated for safety reasons. The fleeing vehicle was still moving about 120 mph at that point, the report states.

Not long after, however, West Valley, West Jordan and Unified police spotted the vehicle and resumed the chase. When officers spotted the vehicle again, there was only one person inside.

The chase ended when the fleeing vehicle sped into a dead-end street in Herriman near 13400 South and 7000 West, hit a power pole that was on the ground and went airborne, crashing into a field.

Karen Bateman, who lives near the field, could hear the chase coming her way, so she opened the blinds in her house to watch and saw the crash as it happened.

"I watched it fly up and over the fence and through the field. And then the cop cars came screeching to a halt afterwards. ... It flew up and over the fence. It cleared the fence," she said. "It was crazy. It was like from a movie, like watching 'Fast and Furious' or something."

Bateman said that for some unknown reason, GPS devices indicate that her street is a through street. It was unknown Thursday if that was a factor for the fleeing driver.

Elbert Woodson, 37, was arrested in the field about five minutes after the crash. There were no serious injuries.

The West Wendover man was booked into the Tooele County Jail for investigation of evading. He could also be extradited back to Nevada to face potential charges there.

The vehicle was seized and the FBI was processing the vehicle for evidence. Nye did not disclose Thursday what was found inside the car. Investigators were still searching for the person who jumped out of the car earlier.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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