NEPHI, Utah — Utah Highway Patrol troopers have arrested a man who led them on a car and foot chase Saturday morning.
28-year-old Juan Francisco Valencia now faces one count of failing to stop or respond to police, a third degree felony, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to remain at scene of an accident, failure to operate in a single lane and reckless endangerment.
Troopers were originally dispatched to a crash on Northbound Interstate 15 at mile marker 194.5, which is between Scipio and Nephi.
The caller stated that after the involved vehicles stopped and spoke to each other, the other driver that was involved in the crash left the scene. Troopers found the vehicle had air bag deployment and a large amount of damage, according to arrest documents for Valencia.
Troopers located the vehicle on I-15 near mile marker 200 and tried to stop the driver, but the driver drove away from troopers and a pursuit began. According to arrest documents, officials saw Valencia open the door of the car and throw small baggies out.
The car chase ended when the mans vehicle was disabled due to damage from the initial crash. The man ran on foot into the foothills to the west. Agencies used K-9's and tracked footprints for several miles before they were led to a marshy area where the tracks were lost.
Officials were warning drivers to not pick up hitchhikers if they saw any individual looking for a ride in the Nephi and Scipio areas.
A few hours later, troopers got a call that Valencia was seen getting into a car with two women. After a traffic stop was initiated, Valencia refused to leave the vehicle but he was eventually taken into custody. The women who picked up Valenica said they knew him and were called to pick him up, according to arrest documents.
The two women were booked into the Juab County Jail along with Valencia.