A 17-year-old from Lander held a young woman against her will in a car while speeding through the town during its Independence Day festivities, the Lander Police Department reports.
Drugs and alcohol were apparent factors.
The woman, who is 18, called 911 at about 1:54 p.m. Tuesday reporting the driver of a red sport utility vehicle was going to “crash the car” and was assaulting her and holding her against her will while driving into Lander, according to a Tuesday statement by the department and a Wednesday interview with LPD public information officer Duane Kaiser.
The department’s call log says the woman’s name was Payton and the male’s name was Evan, and that they were in a red Ford Edge. The woman hung up after initiating the call, the log adds.
Officers “quickly intercepted” the vehicle on the highway heading into town from the Riverton side. The driver didn’t stop for them, instead leading them on chase exceeding 100 mph.
Police gathered around the car and tried to “funnel” it out of town, said Kaiser, adding that the driver swerved toward, rather than away from, police vehicles multiple times.
“There were times he actually tried to take officers out with the vehicle,” Kaiser said.
A Dangerous Chase
It was a balancing act mitigating danger to the community while working to rescue the woman in the car, he said.
“There were no crashes involving any pedestrians during the pursuit,” says the statement.
The chase wound through town and past the Lander City Park which, according to a bystander, was packed with people.
The driver crashed near Sinks Canyon Road. The woman did not sustain any serious injuries, says the statement. The driver was taken to a “local medical facility” for injuries related to the crash, but authorities soon transferred him to the Fremont County Detention Center.
Police are recommending multiple charges, including felony eluding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and reckless endangering.
Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun on Wednesday morning said he is reviewing the case to determine which charges should apply and whether to charge the teen as an adult or juvenile.
Lander is a crowded place every Fourth of July, hosting half marathon and 5K footraces in the morning, a parade at midmorning and extravagant fireworks into the night.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.