I-40 showdown

Left: Shadrick Junell Crowder Right: Robert Allen Owens Jr. Photos courtesy of Coconino County Sheriff's Office

By Bob Hembree
Lake Powell Chronicle

PAGE – An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper on Oct. 25 stopped a commercial truck and trailer on Interstate 40 near Flagstaff to conduct a commercial vehicle inspection. The trooper saw the driver and front passenger switch places with each other.

During the inspection, a citizen informed the trooper that something was thrown from the truck before the traffic stop. Troopers located a package filled with a powdery substance in the median. While the two men were outside of the commercial truck, one of them was able to get back into the cab of the truck and escape.

“Troopers immediately began pursuing the suspect. The suspect drove the commercial truck through the median several times in order to avoid tire deflation devices deployed by troopers as they attempted to stop the suspect,” according to an Arizona DPS press release. “During the pursuit, the suspect attempted to run into troopers in order to avoid apprehension. As the pursuit continued, the suspect alarmingly drove across the median and entered wrong-way westbound within the eastbound traffic lanes of (I-40). The suspect’s dangerous actions immediately placed the lives of the motoring public and pursuing troopers in peril.”

A trooper who recognized the need to stop the imminent threat to life created by the suspect, positioned himself on the Walnut Canyon Road overpass of I-40.

“As the suspect approached the overpass, the trooper fired his service rifle at the suspect, wounding him,” the release continues. “The commercial truck began to decelerate, after which it impacted another commercial vehicle and came to a stop. Injuries from this collision were minor. No troopers were injured.”

The two men are from Virginia. The wounded suspect is 35-year-old Shadrick Junell Crowder. He is expected to recover. Charges on the suspect include multiple counts of endangerment, aggravated assault, possession of narcotics and unlawful flight. The suspect has a history of arrests in several states related to drugs, violent crimes and weapon violations.

The other suspect, 55-year-old Robert Allen Owens Jr., also has a history of legal problems, including operating a contracting business without a license, and giving false identification for law enforcement officers.