High speed chase ends with drug arrests

By Sarah Pridgeon


Wyoming and South Dakota Highway Patrols were both involved in a high-speed chase along I-90 last week. The pursuit reached speeds of up to 107 miles per hour, says Lieutenant Marty Noonan, and two Florida residents were eventually taken into custody with possession of drug paraphernalia and traffic offenses among the charges.

The chase took place on the evening of March 19, when a Wyoming Trooper made a traffic stop at the Pine Ridge Interchange on I-90, twenty miles west of Sundance. The trooper issued a written warning to the driver of the Chevrolet Cavalier, 35-year-old January Carter from Lakeland, Florida.

As the trooper attempted to explain the warning, Carter reportedly rolled up the window of her vehicle and drove off.

The pursuit took several turns, says Sergeant Stephen Townsend, with the suspects at one stage turning the vehicle to head westbound in the eastbound lane of the Interstate.

Once the vehicle crossed the state line, Troopers from the South Dakota Highway Patrol took over as primary agency in the pursuit, with the Wyoming Trooper following some distance behind. Just after crossing, Carter avoided stop sticks that had been placed across both eastbound lanes by South Dakota Troopers.

Eventually, Carter stopped her vehicle at mile post 12, where she and her passenger were taken into custody without further incident. Both individuals face traffic and misdemeanor drug possessions in South Dakota, while Wyoming Troopers have cited both occupants of the vehicle on numerous traffic charges, including eluding, driving while under suspension, reckless driving and interference with a peace officer.

The passenger in the vehicle, 25-year-old Seth Tomlinson from Lakeland, Florida, was cited for driving while under suspension. The trooper who made the traffic stop discovered that the two had switched places and Tomlinson had been driving when he initially saw the vehicle, says Noonan.

Tomlinson was also cited by Wyoming Troopers for interference with a peace officer and arrested by South Dakota Troopers for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Dispatchers from Wyoming Highway Patrol remained in contact with the Crook County Sheriff’s Department and the South Dakota Highway Patrol throughout the incident.

“Through their diligence and teamwork, they were able to quickly alert other law enforcement agencies of the situation, including the South Dakota Highway Patrol, who ultimately stopped the vehicle,” says Captain Troy McIees, Wyoming Highway Patrol.

“Numerous phone calls were made and location and speed updates, as well as other important details, were constantly relayed throughout. Timely notifications were paramount.”

During an emergency of this nature, explains Townsend, radio dispatchers are an officer’s sole link to other officers and to assistance.