I-15 standoff in Utah ends with man’s surrender

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Utah Highway Patrol officers respond after a suspect barricaded himself in his car with an infant hostage on I-15  after the Utah Highway Patrol stopped him in Iron County, Utah, Sunday, April 27 (Photo courtesy Associated Press).
Utah Highway Patrol officers respond after a suspect barricaded himself in his car with an infant hostage on I-15 after the Utah Highway Patrol stopped him in Iron County, Utah, Sunday, April 27. (Photo courtesy Associated Press)

An armed man who held an infant hostage in a car on a highway in southern Utah surrendered and safely released the boy Sunday, ending a five-hour standoff that shut down Interstate 15 in both directions and snarled traffic.

Zeland Adams, 28, had been sought on an arrest warrant in a Louisiana killing when he was arrested late Sunday afternoon near Beaver, about 210 miles south of Salt Lake City, said Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Barton Blair.

Blair had no details about the murder case, and a Louisiana State Police spokesman said Sunday night that his agency’s detectives would not be available for comment until Monday morning.

In Utah, Adams was accused of leading officers on a high-speed chase before barricading himself in the car and threatening to harm the 2-year-old boy, whose mother had been in the car earlier. Officers placed spikes on the interstate near Beaver, stopping the vehicle that had fled from an earlier traffic stop. Negotiators eventually talked him into surrendering.

“During that five-hour period, he made numerous open threats that he had weapons and was willing to shoot it out with law enforcement,” Blair told The Associated Press.

“It was inconvenient to the motoring public, but we’re really happy with the outcome that there was no loss of life or injury,” he added. “The child looked to be in pretty good spirits afterward. He seemed to be happy to be back with his mother.”

A trooper stopped the vehicle about 12:40 p.m. Sunday on I-15 near Cedar City, 50 miles south of Beaver, after recognizing Adams as the target of the Louisiana warrant, investigators said.

At the time, Adams was a passenger and a woman was driving. Adams is accused of driving off with the boy during the stop, leaving the woman and a male adult passenger behind.

The other adults in the car were taken into custody but were later released after investigators determined they were only “loosely affiliated with him through a third-party friend,” Blair said. Their names were not immediately released.

The five-hour shutdown of the interstate caused major traffic backups as motorists faced detours around the hostage scene, said highway patrol Sgt. Todd Royce. Both directions of travel were reopened Sunday evening.

Adams was booked into the Iron County Jail on suspicion of evading.

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