BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah -- A car with a flat tire was shooting sparks on I-15 in Box Elder County Wednesday night, and after a pursuit police pulled over a mother who had been driving with her six children inside.
The woman was first observed by police as she traveled northbound on I-15, and a trooper noted the vehicle was going only about 30 mph and appeared to be having a mechanical issue, according to a press release from the Utah Highway Patrol.
Troopers attempted to pull the vehicle over, but the woman did not stop. At one point she made a dangerous pass to the right after a semi-trailer wouldn’t let her pass on the left side.
The source of the vehicle trouble proved to be that one of the rear tires was completely flat and had begun to fall from the rim, which started to emit sparks. The woman sped up to 65 mph at one point, which was still lower than the posted speed limit.
The vehicle eventually stopped near mile post 372 in the area of Elwood after the tire came completely off. A woman and six children, ages 1 to 11, got out of the vehicle. See the video above for footage from the traffic stop.
A child told police her mom wouldn't stop because, “she was afraid you were going to take us away from each other.”
The children were hungry and some were not dressed well and were cold once outside. A trooper who learned they were hungry bought them pizza and drinks as they waited. They were eventually picked up by the woman's husband and her parents, who are from Delta, after being in temporary custody with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.
Troopers said they quickly realized the woman was suffering some sort of mental health issue, and a trooper with training in that area was able to work with her.
"We actually had one trooper that was on scene that actually has training in mental illness; we have more and more troopers getting that training, which is very important,” said Sgt. Todd Royce of the Utah Highway Patrol.
Police later learned that an attempt to locate for the vehicle had been issued after family reported the woman had taken the children while experiencing some sort of mental health issue and had not been seen for several hours.
The woman, who FOX 13 News has not identified due to information suggesting her actions stemmed from a mental illness, faces felony evading charges and six counts of child endangerment.