Confused Japanese tourists lead Utah police on chase

Feb. 26, 2014 at 5:27 PM
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ST. GEORGE, Utah, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The Utah Highway Patrol said a car that led police on a seven-mile chase turned out to be driven by a confused Japanese tourist.

Lt. Brad Horne, commander of the state's DUI squad, said he noticed a vehicle traveling only 37 mph and wandering out of its lane Sunday on Interstate 15 in St. George, but the car sped up instead of stopping when he turned on his lights, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

"The vehicle was all over the road -- on the shoulder, in between the two lanes -- and the vehicle didn't stop," Horne said.

Horne said the car came to a stop after about seven miles when police put out spike strips and popped three of its tires. Police ordered the occupants out at gunpoint and determined there was something unusual about the situation when a Japanese couple and their 7-year-old son exited the car.

"That's when we realized there was probably something wrong, because they could not follow any simple instructions or directions in that process," Horne said.

Police determined the family did not speak any English and an officer who speaks Japanese was brought in to translate.

The couple said they had arrived in California from Japan that morning and rented a car to travel to Bryce Canyon.

Horne said troopers helped the family find a motel to stay the night. He said no charges will be brought against the woman, who was driving the car.

"It was a difficult situation, one that was unfortunate, but no one was hurt or injured," he said. "Obviously, if you're going to drive here in America and Utah you probably ought to know something about our laws."

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