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BOX ELDER — What began as a routine vehicle check on the freeway turned into the arrest of a woman who allegedly endangered six children in a car chase.
Utah Highway Patrol trooper Jamison Zito was driving southbound on I-15 near the Perry port of entry Dec. 10 when he noticed a car driving slowly northbound.
Thinking the car had mechanical problems or a flat tire, Zito turned through the median to offer assistance, UHP said.
Zito tried to stop the gray 2008 Dodge Avenger, but when the car wouldn’t yield, he contacted trooper Jade Bills who was located just north of Zito’s location.
According to UHP, the driver, 30-year-old Chelsi Robertson, passed Bills and appeared to be flipping him off.
Both troopers immediately pursued Robertson. As they tried to pull her over, they noticed one of her rear tires was flat, falling off the rim and emitting sparks.
Robertson was traveling 30 mph in a 75 mph zone. When Bills and Zito activated their lights and sirens, she accelerated to 65 mph, passing a slower-moving semitruck in the right emergency lane.
Additional officers held traffic back while others set up spike strips near the Elwood exit to blow out Robertson's remaining tires.
The rear wheel failed, stopping the vehicle before reaching that location, UHP said.
Robertson exited the vehicle with six children, ages 1 through 11. According to UHP, some of the children were not well-dressed and there were no car seats in the vehicle.
"We've been having problems with our family members," one of Roberston's children is heard saying on police dashcam video. "Our dad's been saying stuff about our mom that isn't true. There have been people following us wherever we go."
Police took Robertson into custody and placed the children in a patrol vehicle where they could stay warm. They were then transported via ambulance to the UHP office in Brigham City.
UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said one police officer bought pizza for the children while they waited for the Department of Child and Family Services to arrive.
"Out of the goodness of his own heart, and his own pocket, he went down to the pizza joint and got pizza for these kids," said Sgt. Royce.
DCFS took temporary custody of the children until other family members could arrive.
Robertson, a native of the Delta area, “had taken the children while experiencing a possible mental health issue and had not been seen for several hours,” UHP said.
Robertson’s family put out an attempt to locate in the Millard County and Central Utah areas to stop and check the welfare of the driver and children.
After receiving a medical evaluation, Robertson was booked into the Box Elder County Jail for felony evading and six counts of child endangerment.
"We see people a lot of times at their worst moment," Sgt. Royce said.
Contributing: Alex Cabrero