A late night/early morning snowy pursuit spanning hundreds of miles that included gunfire at other motorists ended in arrest for one California man after three local law enforcement agencies teamed up.
According to a joint press release, Arizona DPS troopers received a call around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday of two cars, a black or dark grey Audi and a blue Ford Mustang, racing at or over 100 mph on Interstate 40 near Sanders just west of the New Mexico state line. Troopers were able to stop the driver of the blue Ford Mustang without incident. That driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.
At 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, troopers received a report from a truck driver traveling on I-40 that a dark-colored vehicle was swerving in the lanes of traffic near Winslow. The truck driver also reported that someone in the vehicle had fired shots with a handgun at him.
A few hours later at 3:40 a.m., Flagstaff Police received a call from a motorist who was driving on Leupp Road that he and his family had been shot at by a man in black car. The motorist said he was driving into town with his family when a black car in front of them started driving erratically. The driver of the car was applying his brakes for no reason several times and then sped out of sight.
As the family came over a rise in the road, they found the black car stopped in the middle of the road with someone standing outside the car. The person standing outside the car then started shooting at the family’s vehicle.
Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the location on Leupp Road and located a black Audi traveling south towards Flagstaff. Deputies tried to stop the car, but the driver fled, reaching speeds of up to 35 mph on snowy, ice packed roads in whiteout conditions.
DPS troopers set up a roadblock with spikes at Townsend-Winona Road and I-40. Flagstaff Police officers set up a second set of spikes at Townsend-Winona Road and Cosnino Road. The suspect ran over the spikes set up by Flagstaff PD after turning west onto Townsend-Winona Road. The spikes flattened three of the car’s tires but the driver continued west on Townsend-Winona until he got to the Mountain View Ranchos subdivision. There the driver jumped out of the vehicle and fled into the woods.
Deputies, troopers and police officers tracked the suspect’s footprints in the snow to several cars parked in the driveways of several nearby homes. The suspect was able to find and drive off in a Jeep Wrangler that was parked in one driveway.
Neighbors reported seeing the Jeep driving a few streets away. Officers pursued the Jeep through several residential yards and east onto Townsend-Winona Road. The Jeep eventually became stuck on a pile of rocks after the suspect drove off the road and through a fence. The suspect then surrendered without further incident.
Brian H. Hawes, 33, with addresses out of Los Molinos, Calif., and Geneva, Ohio, was arrested on suspicion of flight from pursuing law enforcement, suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, theft of a motor vehicle and an outstanding warrant for drugs and weapons charges from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Ohio.