A wrong turn. . . .
That's what retired Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Robert Hayward says led to the early morning arrest that landed Ted Bundy in jail for the first time more than 13 years ago.Not only did it end a spree of sex-related killings in the Beehive State, but it helped bring about Bundy's conviction for aggravated kidnapping in the case of 19-year-old Carol DaRonch of Murray.
"It was the best stop I ever made in my 33-year career," recalls Hayward, who retired from the Highway Patrol in July 1986. "It would have been routine, except it happened to be the right guy."
Despite the passage of time, Hayward clearly remembers the circumstances that surrounded Bundy's arrest that morning of Aug. 16, 1975.
He said he was preparing to go off duty and was parked in front of his house, near 30th South and 25th West, updating his duty log when he saw three cars drive onto the street. The time was about 2:45 a.m.
Hayward said he recognized two of the cars as being from the neighborhood, but he wasn't familiar with the third - a Volkswagen driven by Bundy.
Moments later, a call for assistance several blocks away was broadcast over the radio, and Hayward decided to respond. That's when he made the wrong turn that would bring him face to face with a mass murderer.
"I turned right, something I normally wouldn't have done. It was unusual because normally I would have driven two streets ahead to get out of the subdivision more quickly. I turned the corner, and there was Bundy's car, stopped on the right side of the street," Hayward related. "My lights were on high beam. They hit Bundy's car, and I guess it spooked him because he took off running."
Hayward said he immediately gave chase - red lights on - pursuing him through two stop signs onto 35th South. "He took a chance at a blind intersection, but I didn't have any trouble keeping up with him because I was in an unmarked Plymouth with plenty of power. He finally pulled into an empty gas station and jumped out of the car.
"He identified himself as a second-year law student at the University of Utah. Bundy said he was lost in the subdivision. He acted normal. I could smell no alcohol or beer on his breath. He was a good-looking young man. There was nothing to indicate anything was wrong."
Nothing except the sixth sense of a lifelong lawman.
"The longer we talked, the worse it got for him. He said he'd been to a movie at the drive-in theater." Bundy tried to lie, telling Hayward he'd seen "Towering Inferno." But Hayward knew that a trio of westerns were showing at the drive-in.
Hayward said Bundy gave him permission to look in his car, where he noticed that the passenger seat had been removed. Hayward also found a ski mask, crowbar, ice pick, rope and wire - possible burglary tools.
He said he decided to book Bundy on charges of evading so there would be a record of him. "I couldn't put my finger on it, but there was something wrong about this guy. He shouldn't have been in that kind of situation."
And for Bob Hayward, no stop would ever be routine again.