GRANTSVILLE — A homeless woman whom police said tried to a run over an employee at a Walmart distribution center with a stolen pickup truck before she led officers on a high-speed chase Monday has been charged.
Grantsville police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle at the Walmart Distribution Center, located at 929 N. Highway 138, shortly before 2 p.m. Monday. Dispatch informed responding officers the vehicle came back stolen out of Midvale, according to an affidavit filed by police in 3rd District Court.
Police contacted the employee who said a white Toyota Tundra was driving around the Walmart property, and when he tried to confront the driver, “she intentionally made the maneuver to run him over and swerved around him,” the affidavit stated.
By then the driver had left the distribution center and was traveling north on Highway 138. Officers quickly located the vehicle traveling slowly on Ellerbeck Road. When officers activated their sirens, the pickup truck turned around and began to speed up, police wrote.
“The suspect vehicle then ran a stop sign and was almost hit by a semi driving southbound on (Highway) 138. She continued northbound, and we continued the pursuit,” the report stated. “The suspect vehicle was driving at speeds of up to 120 mph and was reckless with other drivers on the road.”
Other police units placed a spike strip onto the road in two spots, but the driver drove around the strips on both occasions. Police eventually ended the pursuit when an officer used a “PIT” maneuver on the pickup truck as it entered a westbound I-80 on-ramp, according to the affidavit.
The driver got out of the Tundra and was arrested. Officers immediately suspected the driver was impaired because she had “constricted pupils, water (sic) and bloodshot eyes, pick marks on her body, and she had a chemical odor on her breath,” police wrote.
The driver identified herself as Wendianne Crystal Howk, 24, and police found she had three warrants out for her arrest. She was taken to a hospital, where officers obtained a warrant for blood and urine tests and found she had THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine in her system, the affidavit stated.
Howk was driven to the Grantsville police station and tried to escape a squad car at one point, the report continued.
The owner of the vehicle told police Howk took the vehicle along with a laptop and an English bulldog a few days before. Police also located a syringe cap and a broken glass pipe in the vehicle. At the police station, Howk admitted to taking the pickup and dog without the owner’s permission, according to the affidavit.
She was later booked into the Tooele County Detention Center before she was charged Tuesday.
Howk was charged in 3rd District Court with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; aggravated assault and failure to stop or respond at the command of an officer, each third-degree felonies; reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a class B misdemeanor; as well as other misdemeanors related in the case.
Court records state Howk is homeless. Her last listed address was in Salt Lake City.