Confused Tourists Trigger Highway Chase

By: Ellisha Rader Mannering - February 26, 2014

A family of Japanese tourists had a surprising and strange first night in the United States after they accidentally triggered a highway pursuit. Several officers were located along a Utah highway during a DUI operation and noticed a car that appeared to be swerving on the road. Utah Highway Patrol’s DUI unit commander Lt. Brad Horne turned on his lights and attempted to pull over the car.

Horne assumed the driver would cooperate, but little did he know, the woman driver had no idea what it meant to be pulled over and instead of doing so, she sped up and slowed down over and over again and continued to swerve on the highway. More police officers joined in the pursuit and eventually, the officers had to throw out spike strips to stop the car.

Once the car stopped, police surrounded the car with guns, preparing for a bad situation. Instead, they found a confused and scared Japanese family that did not speak English and could not understand the officers or their demands.

A Japanese speaking officer was eventually called to inform the family of what was happening and the officers learned that the driver did not know what it meant to be pulled over and was changing speeds and swerving so much because she was trying to get out of the way of the pursuing police cars.

“Red and blue lights are a pretty universal signal,” Horne said. “Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people pull over and stop.”

Although Horne and the other officers were shocked to find out that the entire pursuit was just a misunderstanding, they decided not to press charges on the driver.

Do you think the officers handled the situation right or should the driver have been charged?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Ellisha Rader ManneringEllisha is a writer, wife, and mommy to Cyrus and Milo. She enjoys fishing, hiking, being outdoors, shopping, traveling with her family and teaching baton twirling. Follow her on Twitter @lishann

View all posts by Ellisha Rader Mannering
  • read the book

    ignorance is no excuse of course they should be charged.

  • Imigrated

    Being a tourist isn’t an excuse for breaking the law.

  • not racist

    maybe something small not a big fine.

  • GET OVER YOURSELVES!

    Idjits – course they shouldn’t have been charged lmfao . THEY’RE TOURISTS. IT WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING. When did protecting the people turn into just being assholes? Idiots that said arrest them are the reason we’re living in a police state – get over your overblown sense of ego and start looking at people as people. With lives, homes, jobs, families, pets, etc.

    • http://www.geek-news.net/ GeekNewsNet

      In 100% of countries around the world ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so why should it be here?

  • Nosaj Sirron

    Do they learn our traffic laws and take a course on how to navigate our roads? If not then maybe they shouldnt be driving at all??? But i think “no harm no foul” let them go…

  • officer brown

    Let’s take a look at WHO rented them the car???? Now there’s a novel thought!!

  • held to a lower standard?

    As an ignorant tourist, I was held accountable and fined $50 my first day in Prague for not paying the bus fare because I did not know the language nor how the bus fare system worked (yet). I know the Japanese driver was not intentionally criminal, but why should they be allowed to break rules or held to a lower standard of driving as compared to the citizens? I think a fine would have been appropriate.

  • Sick Of Dumb Democrats

    When I was in Guam, not knowing their laws was not an EXCUSE !

  • Steven Parry

    I think it was a simple missunderstanding. Although they should’ve known the general rules of the road, being in a new country is still challenging & having a cop on your tail doesn’t help.