Naked woman who stole MCSO vehicle said she was sexually assaultedPosted: Updated:
Maricopa County sheriff's officials said a naked woman who claimed she had been sexually assaulted stole a deputy's vehicle before being stopped more than 70 miles away in Eloy.
"An MCSO vehicle was taken by a suspect earlier this morning as a deputy responded to a call for service in Gila Bend," Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez said in an email to media outlets shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday.
MCSO officials said a deputy responded to a disturbance call at the Shell gas station on the east side of Interstate 8 in Gila Bend and found a woman who was naked and acting erratically. She told the deputy that she had been sexually assaulted.
The deputy attempted to help the woman by covering her with a blanket. She then entered his pickup truck and started to leave the scene, officials said. The deputy ran alongside the vehicle and jumped up on the running boards before falling off, suffering some injuries.
[SCANNER TRAFFIC: Listen to some of the scanner traffic as the situation unfolded]
A vehicle arrived at the gas station and the driver let the deputy get in and follow the woman. Officials said the deputy drove the vehicle with its owners as passengers for a few miles.
"At no time was he in pursuit of that [vehicle], he was just trying to keep a distance between them in order to broadcast where the vehicle was headed," said MCSO Chief Deputy Ben Henry.
The deputy returned to the gas station to brief other responders. He then was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released.
The unidentified woman headed eastbound on I-8 toward Casa Grande where she merged onto Interstate 10 east toward Tucson, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph, Henry said.
Units from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and the city of Eloy assisted MCSO with the operation to stop the woman. An MCSO air unit also followed the truck.
State troopers and Pinal County deputies used stop sticks to puncture the two front tires of the MCSO truck, but the woman continued driving on deflated tires and rims.
[RAW VIDEO: MCSO releases more details]
The pursuit covered over 70 miles from Gila Bend to Eloy.
The woman in the stolen MCSO vehicle bumped an SUV on I-10, causing the pickup truck to drive into the median, hit brush and stop.
A Pinal County deputy attempted to take the woman into custody but was concerned that she was going to try and cross I-10 on foot to avoid capture, according to MCSO officials. The deputy deployed a non-lethal weapon and she was taken into custody. Henry further explained that the woman was hit in the leg with a stun bag.
The woman was treated at the scene and then taken to a hospital where she was evaluated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Officials said the SUV had minor damage, but the occupants were not injured and continued on to Texas.
[SLIDESHOW: Naked woman steals MCSO vehicle]
Since the woman claimed she was the victim of a sexual assault, MCSO Special Victims Unit detectives are assisting her as a crime victim, according to a news release. Since the woman stole an MCSO vehicle, a separate team of detectives is investigating her as an alleged perpetrator.
Henry said the deputy whose vehicle was stolen was equipped with a body camera, which was on, and the gas station had a security camera. Authorities have viewed the footage from the security camera.
"You can actually see the concern of the deputy for this person that's disheveled, I mean it's early in the morning, it's cold out and he's concerned in trying to get her clothed," Henry said.
Gila Bend is in Maricopa County, a little more than an hour's drive southwest of Phoenix along Interstate 10 and State Route 85.
Casa Grande, which is in Pinal County, is a little less than an hour south of Phoenix via I-10. I-8 connects with I-10 in Casa Grande.
Gila Bend and Casa Grande are about an hour apart at normal highway speeds. According to scanner traffic, however, the woman was driving about 100 mph.
Eloy, which is near where the crash occurred, is a little more than 15 miles (about 20 minutes at normal highway speeds) southeast of Casa Grande.
OPEN: I-10 East has reopened at Eloy. Delays are less than 1 mile. watch for officers still working in the median.— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 5, 2017
I-10 East: To save time, exit at SR 287, go east to SR 87 and south to I-10. I-10 West is open but experiencing long delays.— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 5, 2017
I-10 EAST: Alt route: Exit at SR 287 (mile 195), go east to SR 87 and south to I-10. I-10 East is closed at milepost 210 near Eloy.— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 5, 2017
CLOSED: I-10 East is closed at milepost 210 near Eloy because of a crash. No ETA for reopening.— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) January 5, 2017
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