SPANISH FORK Police arrested two would-be renegades from the law Sunday after a short-lived, ill-conceived spree that left a trail of shredded and burned-out vehicles.
The two men one age 30 from Salt Lake City and the other age 33 from North Carolina were arrested for investigation of a string of alleged offenses connected to two separate wrecks, Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Cameron Roden said.
The trail started at the southbound I-15 lane near milepost 255 on Sunday around 7:20 a.m., Roden said, when a trooper came upon a wrecked, abandoned Subaru. According to the trooper's report, the right side of the vehicle was crunched, the front tire was shredded and fresh damage was done to a guardrail half a mile from the crash.
It appears the two men were driving south near Spanish Fork when they wrecked the Subaru, which they had borrowed from a friend. UHP troopers are uncertain what caused the wreck, Roden said, but they found some telling evidence.
"No one was around but there were quite a bit of beer bottles scattered," he said.
Rather than wait for law enforcement to show up, the duo allegedly high-tailed it across the freeway, a field and over the fence at Wasatch Pallet Inc., 521 S. 1550 West, in search of a getaway car. Wasatch Pallet general manager Tom Worthen said he was out of the office at the time, but it appears the two tried to steal a tractor-trailer. They couldn't figure out how to start it so they tried to make their exit in a Ford truck, but they couldn't detach it from a gooseneck trailer. They settled for a 1975 GMC flatbed pickup.
The color may have been golden, but the pickup was far from the ideal getaway car. "It's just an old yard truck," Worthen said. "(It's) basically never moved."
The two men allegedly rammed through the gate with the truck and made off for Spanish Fork Canyon.
Around 9 a.m., the same trooper who responded to the wreck on I-15 was sent to U.S. 6 near milepost 184. Dispatch informed him there was a flatbed pickup on fire in the middle of the road. The trooper arrived at the scene to see smoke billowing from the truck's cab.
While looking around the scene, the trooper saw three men downhill near the Search and Rescue Command Center at Spanish Fork River Park. He went down and recognized one of them as a Utah County sheriff's deputy, and "the other two men looked disoriented and wore ragged clothing," the trooper stated in a report.
One of the men was holding a gray jacket covered in weeds and briars. The other man was bleeding from the face and had cuts on his back and right arm. The deputy told the trooper he observed the men coming down the hill a few moments earlier.
The men said they were coming from Salt Lake City on their way to Payson. When the trooper asked how they wound up at the park, one of the men claimed his girlfriend dropped them off and they were headed over Billies Summit. The trooper smelled alcohol on their breath and asked if they'd consent to a sobriety test; they refused, and one of them "used lots of vulgarity while speaking ... and was never able to fully explain where he was," the trooper state in a report.
"They weren't real cooperative," Roden said.
The trooper found a lighter on the two men and suspected they set the truck on fire to destroy evidence of their theft. But Worthen thinks the move hastened their capture.
"They probably would have got away had they not tried to set my truck on fire," he said. "It's just one of those dumb criminal things."The two men were booked into Utah County Jail for investigation of possession of a stolen vehicle, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, arson, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to make a written report. Roden said the situation is still under investigation.