stinger traffic spikes

A Japanese family has a story to last a lifetime, after accidentally becoming involved in a high-speed chase in Utah caused by a cultural misunderstanding and the language barrier.

The pursuit began at 1:00 AM on February 22 near the Utah/Arizona border when the police spotted a car going 37 miles per hour and swerving. Suspecting a drunk driver, the Utah State Police followed the car and attempted to pull the driver over, but that is where the problems start. The area was already being monitored by police for impaired drivers, so three cars attempted to stop the car, while others shut down the highway. Instead of pulling over, the driver began acting erratically by weaving across lanes and by speeding up to 75 mph and then slowing down to 40 mph.

After the car hit spike strips about seven miles down the road, the police were amazed when instead of a drunk driver, a Japanese women in her 40s exited the car. "She would walk forward, backward, spin around - obviously she had no clue what we wanted her to do," Lt. Brad Horne, Utah Highway Patrol's DUI unit commander, told The Washington Post. Upon closer inspection, the police found the woman's terrified husband and seven-year-old son in the car as well.

None of the family spoke English, but after tracking down a Japanese-speaking officer, the police learned that the woman had no idea about American traffic laws. When she saw the lights, she thought she should speed up and swerve to get out of the their way. Nobody was hurt, and the only damage to the car was the flat tires. The family was driving to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The police don't plan to press charges.