Suspicions of home invasion lead to high speed pursuit

An apparent misunderstanding led to a dangerous high-speed traffic situation Tuesday night.

A woman called authorities to report a white pickup truck tailgating her as she drove from Solomon to Safford. The incident apparently started when the reporting party parked outside an abandoned home on Clifton Street in Solomon to make a phone call. She told authorities that she was with her sisters and could not hear the phone conversation in the car, so she stopped and got out.

Wile talking on the phone she was confronted by a woman who told her that she could not be parked outside the abandoned residence and needed to leave. She told the woman she just needed to make a phone call. According to the reporting party the woman demanded to know who she was on the phone with. The woman on the phone told her it was none of her business, got back in her car and pulled several feet forward, thinking this would solve the problem.

The other woman followed, however, and continued to ask who she was and who she was talking to. The reporting party again told the other woman it was none of her business and drove away.

The reporting party told authorities that she thought the incident was over until a white truck zoomed past her on Highway 70. She said that the truck began hitting the brakes trying to get her to stop. The woman slowed down and realized that the driver of the truck was the woman who had confronted her in front of the house. She reported that the woman driving the white truck was yelling at her so she sped around the truck to get away and called 911.

She said the white truck followed her into Safford bumper to bumper. When the reporting party stopped for a red light at 5th Avenue in Safford, she saw two women in the white truck behind her get out and run toward her car. She told authorities that she was afraid her assailants had a weapon, so she ran the red light, nearly colliding with another vehicle.

The truck continued to follow her to 8th Avenue, where the traffic light was red. Fearing the people in the truck behind her would again try to get her, she ran the red light and was going to turn left onto 10th Avenue to go to the Safford police station. When she turned into the left turn lane, she had to wait for traffic to clear before making the turn. Again, the white truck pulled up behind her in the turn lane and the two women in the truck got out and ran toward her car.

The reporting party abruptly pulled back onto Highway 70, where she cut off a black car. She drove approximately 60 MPH through Safford and asked the 911 operator to have a Thatcher officer to meet her in Thatcher. She lost sight of the white truck so she pulled into a parking lot. Thatcher and Safford police officers pulled in behind her along with the black car she cut off earlier.

The driver of the black car told authorities that she had seen the car and truck run the stop lights at 5th and 8th Avenues. She said that the white truck was following very close and driving aggressively. She saw the two vehicles in the turn lane at 10th Avenue and watched the two females in the truck jump out in the median and run toward the car. She recounted how the car pulled back onto the highway in front of her, nearly causing a collision.

While sorting things out in the parking lot in Thatcher, officers were notified that the driver of the white truck had called in reporting that she was following the car after seeing the female occupants inside of an abandoned residence. The woman who had stopped to use her phone told authorities that she never went inside the home. She assured officers that she had only stopped to use the phone.

Several deputies went to the residence in Solomon and met with the owner. The first deputy to arrive at the residence noted that the front door was slightly open. The property owner gave permission for the deputies to enter the residence to make sure nobody was inside. When they opened the door, they immediately noticed a layer of dust over the floor and on newspapers and magazine pages that were on the floor. Deputies noted in the report that they could not locate any shoe prints going into the residence.

About that time the driver of the white pickup truck arrived in the parking lot in Thatcher where the woman she had aggressively pursued, the driver of the black car and police officers were sorting things out.

The driver of the white truck told authorities that she takes care of the abandoned residence for the owner. She said that she got a phone call from a neighbor stating that there was a car parked outside the residence. She stated that when she arrived on the scene, she saw a woman inside the residence. She said that when she confronted the alleged intruder, she got into her car and drove off. The woman then jumped into her truck and followed the car.

When asked why she didn’t call police, the woman said that she didn’t have her phone. When asked why she didn’t have a neighbor call, the woman said she wasn’t thinking about it and just wanted to find out who the woman was that she confronted at the residence.

The officer told the woman that her actions could have caused an accident and that in the future she should report the incident and let law enforcement handle it.