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Police Unsure Why Suspect Started Freeway Chase, Driver ID'd

Authorities had no further clues Tuesday about why a suspected bank robber engaged five police agencies in one of the most dramatic local high-speed chases in recent memory.
DRAPER (ABC 4 News) - Authorities had no further clues Tuesday about why a suspected bank robber engaged five police agencies in one of the most dramatic local high-speed chases in recent memory.

However, officials did release the name of the man behind the wheel -- Brett Max Knight, 33, of Provo.

At approximately 4 p.m. Monday, Draper police officers went to Lehi in search of Knight, who was wanted in connection with a bank robbery that occurred in Draper on Feb. 22. After seeking assistance from Lehi police, authorities traced Knight to a nearby motel. Knight, aware of the incoming police presence, ran from his room to the parking lot and got inside of a black Toyota Tundra pickup, officials said.

According to police, Knight immediately raced for Interstate 15 and headed north into Salt Lake County. Draper police, Lehi police, and the Utah County Sheriff's Office followed the suspect as he traveled the span of the entire county -- at speeds that sometimes exceeded 100 m.p.h. Near 4500 South, the Utah Highway Patrol deployed "spike strips" on the freeway pavement, which are designed to disable a vehicle's tires. The tactic worked, as both driver's side tires were blown out, but police said Knight was able to continue driving on the truck's bare wheels.

After nearly an hour, the pursuit extended into Davis County. Near Kaysville, the Davis County Sheriff's Office dispatched an armored vehicle used by its SWAT team to try and stop the pickup truck. Officers in the armored car successfully ended the chase by performing a PIT (pursuit immobilization technique) maneuver and causing the truck to stop.

At that point, authorities said, Knight emerged from the pickup carrying a handgun and shouting at officers. Police opened fire when Knight allegedly raised his weapon at officers. He died at the scene.
Maria Herrera, 18, died on Feb. 25, 2013 after driving this blue Subaru into the back of a semi-truck on I-15 near Centerville. Officials said traffic was stalled in the area following a high-speed police pursuit, and that Herrera was traveling too fast when she came upon the congestion. (ABC 4)
Maria Herrera, 18, died on Feb. 25, 2013 after driving this blue Subaru into the back of a semi-truck on I-15 near Centerville. Officials said traffic was stalled in the area following a high-speed police pursuit, and that Herrera was traveling too fast when she came upon the congestion. (ABC 4)
Which officer fired the shot(s) and whether Knight ever fired a shot are points still under investigation. Authorities shut down part of the freeway between Farmington and Centerville during the investigation. 

A woman also died as a result of the pursuit, when her vehicle crashed into the back of a semi-truck on I-15 after traffic had ground to a halt. Police say the woman, identified as 18-year-old Maria Herrera, was traveling too fast when she came upon the stalled traffic. Her Subaru collided with another vehicle before crashing into the rear of the semi. Herrera was ejected from her vehicle and received severe injuries.

Investigators said Knight had a prior criminal history, but none for violent crimes. He spent a year in jail for a felony theft conviction, and had numerous traffic violations on his driving record, officials said.

MORE:
High Speed Chase Ends With Standoff On I-15 (Feb. 25, 2013)
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