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For the week of August 18th, 1999 through August 24th, 1999

Woman leads police on high-speed chase

California resident takes whirlwind tour of Wood River Valley

Express Staff Writer

Police say they are baffled by the actions of a 56-year-old woman who allegedly led them on an almost 65-mile high-speed chase on Sunday that involved speeds in the mid 70s through downtown Hailey and Bellevue.

Delores Peggy Nixt, from near Redding, Calif., was arrested by a Bellevue Marshal’s deputy along state Highway 75 just north of Shoshone on a felony charge of eluding police. The arrest came after Nixt’s white Toyota Corolla had thumped to a stop following an encounter with a set of road spikes dragged across the highway by the Shoshone Police Department.

Nixt was arraigned in Fifth District Court in Hailey on Monday, and was still in Blaine County Jail yesterday after failing to post a $25,000 bond.

According to Ketchum Police Capt. J.T. Creviston, Nixt’s wild ride started about noon 10 miles north of Ketchum when she was spotted by another motorist as she drove south in the north-bound lane. Creviston said a Ketchum officer headed north out of town to intercept her, and saw her pass another car in a no-passing zone north of Saddle Road. Creviston said the officer turned on his flashing lights and gave chase.

According to Creviston, Nixt slowed up behind traffic in Ketchum, but then hit the gas just south of town, passing the hospital construction site at 75 miles per hour.

Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling said he happened to be driving north at the time in his own car, and saw Nixt’s Toyota barreling south in the center turn lane. Creviston said cars going both directions were pulling off onto the shoulders to let Nixt by.

Creviston said the Ketchum officer chased Nixt almost to Hailey, when he slowed down and dropped the chase.

"He was just trying to keep in sight of her without pushing her," Creviston said. "But apparently, she just wanted to get out of the area."

According to Hailey Police Sgt. Jeff Frost, Nixt "never even slowed down" as she entered Hailey, and was clocked at 74 miles per hour. Frost said a Hailey officer followed her through town at a distance.

Bellevue Marshal Jeff Gunter said a Bellevue deputy picked up the chase just south of Hailey, but also backed off as Nixt entered Bellevue, where she was clocked at 75 miles per hour.

Gunter said the Bellevue and Hailey officers chased Nixt from south of Bellevue, through the U.S. Highway 20 intersection and on toward Shoshone. Sheriff Femling said Nixt was clocked at 99 miles per hour south of Timmerman Hill.

Gunter said that after Nixt’s car hit the road spikes north of Shoshone, at 12:47 p.m., she locked her car doors and refused to come out for over half an hour.

He said officers did not want to approach the car until Idaho State Police officers took cover behind a tree from where they could see that she did not have a gun. At that point, he said, other officers went up to the car and persuaded Nixt to surrender.

Creviston said Nixt told officers she had not stopped initially because she had "felt scared." However, he said he did not know what she meant by that. Gunter said he was mystified as to why a person not wanted for a serious crime would try to evade police.

"From what I’ve seen of her past history, there’s really no reason for it," he said.

Gunter said there was no indication that Nixt had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, though she was not given a breath test. Queried as to how Nixt got so far without being stopped, Femling said few officers patrol on Sunday. He said his department maintains a set of road spikes at the U.S. Highway 20 junction, but that no officers were able to get there before Nixt did.

All the officers interviewed said it is their departments’ policy to back off on high-speed chases when the pursued vehicle enters a populated area.

"With all the communications we have with other jurisdictions, there’s no point in doing a full-bore chase," Creviston said.

According to the Twin Falls Times-News, a person in a van pursued by Minidoka County Sheriff’s deputies died Sunday as the result of a high-speed chase in Burley.

Creviston said the spikes used by police agencies put small holes in the tires of a vehicle that drives over them, causing them to deflate slowly.

"At that point, it’s either run on flat tires and rims or stop," he said. "Most people tend to stop."



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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.