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A Routine Traffic Stop Turns Into A High-Speed Chase Through Vernal, An Arrest is Made Days Later


Posted by Travis Uresk | Feb. 21st, 2023 | High-Speed Chase & Drugs |


By Travis Uresk

2/21/23


Naples, Ut.- On 02/11/2023, Corporal Johnstun was advised over the radio that Deputy Fairey had attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle at 1200 South 1500 East in Naples, Utah.

Deputy Fairey said the vehicle failed to yield and was continuing on 1500 East toward Vernal City, and the vehicle was a silver Ford Focus. That he suspected the driver was Mikayla Angel, who was wanted on active statewide warrants.

Deputy Fairey said he was no longer following the vehicle and had last seen the car near the 500 South intersections with Highway 40. Corporal Johnstun proceeded Eastbound on Main Street and stopped at 500 East and Main Street.

Corporal Johnstun saw the silver Ford Focus, which was traveling westbound, then the vehicle turned into the parking lot at 7- Eleven at 501 East Main Street, traveling at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle cut through the parking lot and exited the other side, turning north on 500 East. The car did not stop before exiting the parking lot and nearly collided with a vehicle traveling northbound on 500 east.

Based on the failure to stop before entering a highway and failure to yield to a vehicle when entering a roadway, Corporal Johnstun decided to conduct a traffic stop. He turned northbound on 500 east and activated his emergency lights and siren. The vehicle then accelerated rapidly, and Corporal Johnstun attempted to catch up to the vehicle while traveling north on 500 East.

Corporal Johnstun estimated the vehicle speed between 70 and 80 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. He then saw the vehicle fail to stop at the stop sign at the 500 North and 500 East intersections. The vehicle's brake lights did not activate when approaching or passing through the intersection.

Corporal Johnstun saw the vehicle nearly collide with another vehicle, which had been eastbound on 500 North. Corporal Johnstun watched the vehicle being operated with willful and wanton disregard for public safety and committing more than three traffic violations in a series of acts occurring within a single continuous period of driving covering three miles or less in total distance.

Based on the recklessness of the vehicle, and department policy, Corporal Johnstun terminated his attempt to stop the vehicle. He watched the vehicle continue northbound on 500 East, out of sight.

On 02/12/2023, Corporal Johnstun contacted who they thought was the owner of the car by phone. She said she had sold the vehicle to someone else in March of 2022, and she had heard from that person that Oscar Lee Mendoza was now in possession of the vehicle.

Corporal Johnstun then located the vehicle at the Mendoza residence in Vernal and was told by Jessica Mendoza that she heard from Oscar that they fled from the police in the vehicle twice.

Jessica later backtracked and stated Oscar was not in the vehicle. Based on the circumstances, the vehicle was impounded.

During an inventory of the vehicle, two pieces of mail were located, one with Oscar's name and one with the name Maya Lucero. Corporal Johnstun was advised Maya is Oscar's girlfriend.

A marijuana pipe was also located in the vehicle, which contained partially burnt plant material.

On 2/15/2023, Corporal Johnstun contacted Cameo by phone, and Cameo stated she was dating Oscar's brother and was letting Oscar use the vehicle.

Cameo said she had spoken to Oscar, and he indicated he was going to turn himself in.

A records check showed Oscar's Utah Driver's License was denied. Corporal Johnstun later learned that Oscar was staying at the Comfort Inn at 2396 West Highway 40 in Vernal, Utah.

Corporal Johnstun contacted Oscar and Maya at the hotel and spoke with Maya about the incident. Maya admitted to being in the vehicle when they fled. Maya indicated Oscar had been driving and fled because of his active warrants.

Oscar had been transported to the Jail based on the active warrants. Corporal Johnstun interviewed Oscar at the Jail and read him his Miranda Rights prior to interviewing him.

Oscar admitted he was driving the vehicle when he fled from the traffic stop in Naples and near the 7-Eleven at 500 East. Oscar also admitted the marijuana found in the vehicle belonged to him and described the pipe.

Oscar was booked into Jail for failure to stop at an officer's signal, reckless driving, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a denied license, failure to stop before entering a highway, failure to yield when entering a highway, and speeding.

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