Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 11:05 AM
ST. GEORGE, Utah— A man involved in a nine-hour standoff that shut down Interstate 15 in Utah was trying to keep his children from returning to their mother’s custody in California, police said.
Jason Kenneth Alley, 37, was arrested peacefully Monday night after talking with negotiators for hours with a teenage boy and a younger boy in his car.
"He was really concerned his ex-wife had sent the police to get the kids," LaVerkin Police Chief Lloyd Watkins told The Spectrum of St. George (http://bit.ly/xSSvP6). "He didn’t believe she was a fit mother for the kids. He thought he was trying to protect the kids."
Alley fled from LaVerkin police at about 11 a.m., when authorities say an officer tried to stop him for a traffic violation near the Toquerville cemetery.
A chase went through Hurricane and then north on I-15, crossing into the southbound lanes. Troopers used a spike strip to deflate the car’s tires, forcing it to stop near State Road 9 in Washington County.
During the ordeal, an 11-mile stretch of I-15 was shut down in both directions, and traffic was rerouted to State Roads 9 and 17. Nearby Coral Canyon Elementary School in Washington City was locked down.
Watkins described Alley as a transient who had spent at least the past few days sleeping in his car. It’s not clear what he was doing in southern Utah.
The Utah Division of Child and Family Services has taken custody of the children. Watkins said officials will look into the children’s home situation and investigate some of the allegations Alley made against their mother.
Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said Alley will face charges of evading police, reckless endangerment and failing to yield to emergency vehicles.
Watkins said the whole event might have been avoided if Alley had cooperated with the traffic stop.
"If he would have stopped, he may have just gotten a warning and been sent on his way," Watkins said.
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