Gillette 16-Year-Old Hits 142 MPH In Cadillac Trying To Outrun Cops

A former race car driver and the Campbell County undersheriff say a 16-year-old boy who led police on a high-speed chase hitting 142 mph is lucky. Any slight mishap at that speed is probably not survivable, they said.

Clair McFarland & Jimmy Orr

May 13, 20244 min read

2015 Cadillac ATS.
2015 Cadillac ATS. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A 16-year-old boy led Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase for more than 13 minutes Friday evening, rocketing up to 142 mph in a newly acquired black Cadillac, the agency says.

Someone with the sheriff’s office watched the black, 2015 Cadillac ATS displaying a Wyoming temporary license shoot past on Highway 14-16 near Hannum Road on Friday, Quentin Reynolds, Campbell County Undersheriff, told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

A radar detector clocked the car at 142 mph in the 55 mph zone, Reynolds said.

That Speed Probably Not Survivable

The top speed of the Cadillac ATS is 146 mph. That the teen would push his to nearly to that max is unusual, but not unheard of, the undersheriff said.

“They don’t usually get over 140 mph,” Reynolds said. “But with the new cars, these days, some of them will get up there pretty good.”

That the teen finally stopped and walked away from the high-speed chase in one piece is extremely lucky for him, said Vince Bodiford, a former professional race car driver and owner of the automotive media outlet The Weekend Drive.

Crashing a car at that extreme speed would probably not have been survivable for the 16-year-old, he said.

The 142 mph the teen clocked “is extremely fast on a public roadway, and there’s so much that can go wrong,” Bodiford said.

“Anything small that could give you a flat tire would absolutely destroy a car at 140 mph,” he said. “The lightest of damage would equal a death sentence.”

Bodiford said that’s why he’s in favor of legislation that would limit the top speed of vehicles to the speed limit for any minors who have gotten into trouble for reckless driving.

“With technology today, when a minor is behind the wheel, a chip would tell the car who is driving it and if they are under 18, it should be limited down to whatever the maximum speed limit is,” he said.

Teen Didn’t Want To Get In Trouble

Deputies tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the vehicle bolted northward in an apparent attempt to elude them. The driver drove through the Eagle Butte Mine entrance gate; deputies spotted him in the main parking area of the mine, said the undersheriff.

Reynolds said the driver then kept fleeing, heading back to the highway and turning north, leading deputies on a roughly 140 mph chase for about 13 minutes.

The car came to a stop at mile marker 17 of Highway 14-16, where deputies conducted a high-risk traffic stop.

“We didn’t — obviously — know it was a juvenile when we initiated the traffic stop. And that’s why the deputy pursued them,” said Reynolds. “We didn’t know what (could have) occurred just prior to encountering them going away from Gillette at 142 mph.”

The temporary license plate complicated the situation more, keeping deputies from determining who owned the car or any possible crimes “they may have committed just prior to us contacting them,” he said.

And A Passenger

In the Cadillac, deputies found a 16-year-old male driver and a 15-year-old female passenger.

After conferring with the Campbell County Attorney’s Office, deputies took the boy to the jail, where he remained Monday on recommended charges of reckless driving and eluding police, Reynolds said.

They detained the female briefly then released her to her parents, he said.

Reynolds said he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of the youth’s thinking, but speculated he gave up the chase when he realized deputies weren’t giving up.

He said he believes the Cadillac belongs to the teen's family.

As to why people decide fleeing from police is a good idea, Reynolds is stumped, saying drivers often forget that it’s difficult to get away.

“It’s hard to outrun the radio,” he said. “And all of our officers go to EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) training so they know what they’re doing.”

Reynolds said a new round of high-speed chase training is scheduled for next week.

Once speeds get as high as Friday’s chase, oftentimes they are called off for public safety. But in this instance, Reynolds said it was allowed to continue because the driver was on an isolated highway and moving away from Gillette.

“It’s a judgment call, and public safety is always the most important thing,” he said.

Clair McFarland can be reached at and Jimmy Orr can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter


Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.