ELOY, Ariz. -- A naked woman stole a sheriff’s department pickup truck Thursday and led law enforcement officers on an estimated 70-mile high-speed chase on two Arizona highways before she was taken into custody, authorities said.
The unidentified woman was disrobed, disoriented and claimed she had been sexually assaulted when a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy responded to a 9 a.m. call about a naked woman at a gas station in Gila Bend along Interstate 8, authorities said.
The deputy put the pickup truck in park with the engine running as he tried to find the woman clothes in the gas station, authorities said. The woman then got into the vehicle and drove off.
The deputy jumped on the truck’s running board before being knocked off.
A vehicle arrived at the gas station, and the driver let the deputy get in and follow the woman, CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV reports. 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],” sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ben Henry said. “He was just trying to keep a distance between them in order to broadcast where the vehicle was headed.”
The deputy returned to the gas station to brief other responders, KPHO-TV reports. He then was taken to a hospital where he was treated for injuries on his right side and released, Henry said.
The woman drove the stolen truck above 100 mph at times as she got onto Interstate 10 headed to Tucson, he said.
Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers and law enforcement authorities from Pinal County and Eloy put spike strips on the road that shredded at least one of the vehicle’s tires. The chase ended near Eloy when the woman sideswiped a car on the freeway and struck a median.
The woman got out of the vehicle and wouldn’t comply with orders, Henry said. Fearing that she might step into the roadway, authorities shot the woman in the legs with bean bags to subdue her before she was taken to a hospital for examination and evaluation.
Sheriff’s investigators planned to talk to the woman about the sexual assault allegation, but Henry said she faces numerous charges in the vehicle theft incident.
The deputy had his body camera on when the incident began, and authorities have watched the gas station’s surveillance video.
“He was just trying to get her clothed. You can see the concern,” Henry said.