On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, thirty-one year old, Mitchell Timothy Taebel, was arrested in Tempe, Arizona, just outside the campus grounds of Arizona State University.
Taebel, who had a criminal history including felonies and misdemeanors in other states besides Arizona, was stopped by Driver Protective Services, (DPS), for a moving traffic violation at about 10 A.M in the far West Valley. The driver, who holds a California license and has no known address in the state of Arizona, refused to stop and continued to head eastbound into the city of Phoenix.
According to AZCentral, “DPS troopers attempted to disable the vehicle using stop sticks, but the vehicle veered around them and kept going… Trooper vehicles backed off and let a DPS helicopter take over tracking the SUV.”
Taebel then exited at Rural Road, (the home exit for ASU), and had to stop due to a red light. Two DPS vehicles attempted to box in Taebel, however, he was able to swerve around them, (although, the suspect hit one of the patrol cars), and continued south on Rural road at a high speed. (Photo courtesy of: ABC15)
Taebel then hit another SUV head on near Apache Boulevard, one of the main roads running through Tempe. AZCentral reported that the 47 year old female driver the suspect hit, was taken to the hospital but did not sustain life-threatening injuries. Taebel’s vehicle on the other hand, flipped many times and stopped outside of the lobby of an ASU building. He was taken into custody, brought to the hospital to treat minor injuries, and was brought into booking that afternoon.
According to DPS and ABC 15, Taebel holds many anti-governmental views and believed that the police had no probable cause to stop his vehicle.
He dialed 911 at about 10:41 AM, while fleeing from police and told DPS that, “He did not want to stop due to the unlawfulness of the traffic stop and wanted a peaceful resolution. He cited a Federal Code and stated it would be lawful to take an officer’s life to preserve his freedom.” (ABC 15). Taebel then hung up on law enforcement.
(Photo courtesy of: ABC15)
Yet, sources say that, “All DPS units [are] to have their lights and sirens on during the entire pursuit. Aerial footage shows that when troopers attempted to pin the suspect’s at a busy intersection, none of the DPS vehicles had their lights or sirens on.” A reporter asked DPS to comment on why they did not suspend the chase, however, the spokesman politely declined.
Taebel was charged with unlawful flight from law enforcement, five counts of aggravated assault, speeding, reckless driving, and endangerment.