Ben Henry, MCSO chief deputy, shares details about the MCSO pickup that authorities say was stolen by a naked woman and then recovered after a 70-mile chase that ended after a crash on Interstate 10 near Eloy. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral.com
The driver was stopped and taken into custody after a pursuit by sheriff’s deputies and DPS troopers.
A Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office pickup truck was stolen by a naked woman and then recovered Thursday after a 70-mile high-speed chase that ended in a crash on Interstate 10 near Eloy, authorities said.
The driver was stopped and taken into custody about 10 a.m. after a pursuit by sheriff’s deputies and Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers, according to Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
The sheriff’s pickup collided with another vehicle, sending the pickup into a median.
Chief Deputy Ben Henry said the situation began shortly before 9 a.m. when a sheriff’s deputy responded to a call for service at a Shell service station off of South Butterfield Trail in Gila Bend. A woman told the deputy she had been sexually assaulted, Henry said, and was acting erratically. The deputy left his pickup running while he went into the service station to get something to cover her, Henry said.
“Obviously she was disoriented. At that point in time, he actually went back to his vehicle to get something to place over her. It was at that time she entered the deputy’s vehicle and actually started driving off,” Henry said.
Chris Holt, 30, a manager at the gas station, said he wasn’t present when the incident took place but he watched the whole ordeal play out as captured on the station’s surveillance cameras.
“We see a lot of characters but nothing quite like this,” Holt said, adding that detectives told him not to share the surveillance camera video.
In the footage, Holt said the naked woman is seen walking up to the gas station, where she was met by a deputy who retrieved a blanket from the back of his vehicle to try and cover her.
Holt said the footage showed the deputy starting to walk toward the gas station, turning back only to see the woman getting into his truck. When the deputy tried to get her out he was “dragged” and took “quite a spill,” Holt said.
As the woman drove east on Interstate 8, a couple pulled up in their vehicle and offered it to the deputy, and he obliged, according to Chief Deputy Henry. The Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy followed her for a time until DPS troopers and Pinal County sheriff’s deputies could take over.
Henry said the chase reached speeds up to 100 mph.
At one point, authorities were able to use stop sticks to puncture the front tires of the stolen truck, but the move didn’t prevent the woman from driving onto eastbound I-10 with deflated tires, Henry said.
It wasn’t long before the stolen truck crashed into the car of a family on its way to Texas at milepost 210 near Eloy.
Henry said the woman exited the truck but wouldn’t follow orders from Pinal County deputies and DPS troopers. Concerned she would try to run across the highway, officials used a non-lethal weapon to detain her, Henry said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
The deputy was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and then released.
Henry noted that leaving the vehicle running was not standard procedure, but the deputy’s concern was warranted under the circumstances.
“You can see the concern from the deputy for this person,” he said.
Includes information from Republic reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy.