The La Paz County Sheriff’s Department has not released the name of the man that led multiple law enforcement agencies on a chase through the county after midnight on Monday morning that led to the death of Sgt. Michael Rudd. But Sheriff William Ponce provided a few additional details about the events and confirmed that the man has been arrested and is in his department’s custody.
Ponce said a report went out late Sunday night, or early Monday morning, about an individual who had used a fraudulent credit card to make a transaction. Ponce said the Quartzsite Police Department initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle in reference to that report, and the vehicle allegedly ended up fleeing the scene.
“Quartzsite discontinued at that time, and Sgt. Rudd was in the area and picked up that pursuit,” Ponce said. “Then the Quartzsite department re-engaged and Arizona Department of Public Safety also assisted.”
Rudd said the chase continued until DPS was able to successfully bring the vehicle to a stop by deploying stop sticks on I-10 near mile marker 37.
“The subject then fled from the vehicle and officers pursued on foot and were able to apprehend the suspect, after a scuffle, and he was taken into custody,” Ponce said.
Ponce said while officers were wrapping up the scene of the arrest, Rudd returned to the area where law enforcement vehicles had been parked. When he was near one of the vehicles he was struck by a passing commercial semi-truck. Ponce said the truck driver could not see Rudd.
The accident that resulted in Rudd’s death is being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Vehicular Crimes Unit. A representative with DPS confirmed that the agency is investigating the case, but said the department cannot comment on any ongoing investigations.
Ponce said the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department took over the case involving the person suspected of fraud – who is now facing additional charges related to their flight from police. On Tuesday he said the suspect was still in his department’s custody and has been charged with endangerment, aggravated assault and a felony count for leaving the scene of a traffic stop, and for fleeing from law enforcement. Ponce said the office is still considering additional charges related to the subsequent death of Rudd.