SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper who crashed into a car to stop it from heading the wrong direction on I-15 says he was just doing what any other trooper would.
UHP officers received a report at 12:45 a.m. Sunday of a vehicle attempting to enter the northbound 400 South I-15 freeway entrance while driving south. The 2000 Ford Ranger drove south on the northbound freeway for 12.5 miles while UHP troopers attempted to stop the vehicle.
Officers deployed spikes at 7200 South to deflate the tires of the vehicle, but the driver continued driving the wrong direction on I-15. At 9200 South, UHP Captain Mark Zesiger attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle ran head on into Zesiger's patrol car, but continued driving.
"At that point, I knew we had to take some very serious action to stop the vehicle from proceeding forward to where it could hit the public," Zesiger said. "Our next option was to force that vehicle into the wall and keep it out of the main flow of traffic. I wasn't given that option."
At 10500 South, Zesiger crashed into the car head-on.
Zesiger, 19-year veteran with the UHP, said he didn't think of the consequences or wasn't concerned about getting hurt. He said he just wanted to make sure no one else did.
Zesiger said he felt some stiffness, but did not report any other injuries. No other injuries were reported during the incident.
"I think I did something that any other trooper would do, and what I would ask any other officer to do if it were my family that was coming northbound at 106th South," he said.
Axel Garcia, 22, of West Jordan was arrested for DUI among other potential charges.