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100-mph chase ends with stolen truck in ditch

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TOOELE — Police arrested a man and woman accused of leading officers on a chase that reached speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

A Tooele County sheriff's deputy spotted a stolen pickup truck around 4:30 a.m. near Mills Junction, at state Route 36 and state Route 138, according to Chief Deputy Duke North.

The deputy tried to pull over the truck, which was stolen out of South Jordan in October, but the driver sped away and a high-speed chase ensued.

The driver drove the truck into a ditch on state Route 112 at 1500 West. The man exited the truck and tried to climb a barbed wire fence lining the Tooele Army Depot, North said.

Deputies caught Michael Van Stembridge, 25, from Magna and sent him to a hospital to be treated for injuries. Stembridge was later booked into the Tooele County Detention Center.

A passenger, Tenna Lynn Gallegos, 19, from Magna also tried to flee but was caught, taken in for questioning, then taken to the detention center, as well. Both Van Stembridge and Gallegos were booked for investigation of theft and evading police.

Deputies said they found stolen items in the truck.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Corey Nye said officers have seen a lot of high speeds traveling through Tooele County. Nye developed a program to help track drivers' speeds and what days are the most common for 100-mile per hour speeds.

Nye said the program has troopers enter information into a computer based on traffic speeds that have clocked. Then he knows when and where to assign officers to patrol based on averages and probabilities.

Nye reported that 59 percent of 100 mile an hour speeders drive on Saturday and Sunday. The most popular times for speeding were 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The program was started at the beginning of 2013, and Nye said his patrol tracking seems to be working. He said in 2012, 424 drivers were caught driving 100 miles an hour or faster. In 2013, 227 drivers were caught driving 100 miles per hour.

"Our whole goal is to make sure everybody travels through the county safely," Nye said.


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