A former Tempe police officer is facing additional charges after leading police on a second high-speed chase while he was out on bond.
The most recent high-speed chase involving former Tempe officer Garrett Peterson, 30, ended in a head-on crash Monday afternoon, according to Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Carrick Cook.
Cook said Border Patrol agents noticed Peterson's vehicle with a prior "attempt to locate," but when officers tried to pull the vehicle over, Peterson fled.
Peterson was traveling up to 90 mph during the chase about 40 miles from the California border. After turning around several times, Peterson's vehicle reportedly went head-on into a commercial truck.
Cook said Peterson had minor head trauma from the crash and investigators believe impairment may have been a factor in the crash.
He's being held in the Yuma County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Early Saturday morning, Peterson was arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase and barricading himself on the westbound Loop 202 on ramp at Alma School Road, according to Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Sanger.
Sanger said the chase began after officers were called to the Gilbert home of Peterson's ex-wife to look into phone and text message threats from Peterson.
Peterson threatened his ex-wife's new husband, saying, "I'm going to kill you and your whole f****** family," according to the police report.
Peterson also sent a text messaging saying, "I'm coming over guns blazing," the report states.
Peterson's ex-wife told police that Peterson was armed and intoxicated and told them he would be at their house in 25 minutes.
While officers were on scene at Peterson's ex-wife's home around 11:30 p.m. they spotted Peterson driving by the house, said Sanger. Officers tried to stop him but he sped off.
Sanger said officers initiated a pursuit and Peterson was seen driving in excess of 120 mph on westbound 202 Freeway.
Officers lost visual of the vehicle, then a short time later, DPS officers radioed they had located Peterson's vehicle on the westbound 202 on-ramp at Alma School Road.
Sanger said Peterson was in the vehicle along with a woman passenger who got out and came to police. Peterson, on the other hand, flashed a pistol and refused to come out.
Sanger said SWAT teams spoke with Peterson for more than an hour and officers from multiple agencies closed down the freeway in both directions until he surrendered about 12:45 a.m.
Police said his blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.
Peterson had a court hearing in Maricopa County in connection with Saturday's pursuit and the judge set his bond at $10,000. The judge ordered him to be on electronic monitoring, with alcohol testing if released. He was also ordered to turn his weapons over to the Chandler Police Department.
Tempe police say Peterson resigned from the department on Monday. He had been on administrative leave.
Peterson is now facing seven felony charges, including endangerment, extreme DUI, felony flight, reckless driving and threats and intimidation, and driving in excess of 85 mph in the first police pursuit.
In the wake of the arrests, Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff issued the following internal memo to police employees:
"Dear Tempe Police Employees,
"By now, most of you have either seen the media coverage or heard about the two incidents involving former Tempe Police Officer Garrett Peterson. As expected, some reports are accurate based on known facts, and some reports are light on the facts and heavy on the rumor, conjecture and spin; the latter only adds to what is both an unfortunate and disappointing chain of events.
"Of those of us who know Garrett, we know that at work he was a kind, caring, and professional police officer. Unfortunately, in his personal life, it is apparent that he had many challenges which he needed to overcome and to the detriment of many, he made several poor decisions for which he must be held accountable.
"Garrett's alleged actions last Saturday, and again yesterday (Monday), were committed during a time when he was either off-duty and/or post resignation. Fortunately, his actions occurred in his personal life and did not impact the delivery of police services to our community. But despite whether or not he was on-duty or off-duty, an employee or a former employee, the fact remains that Garrett, like each one of us is human - subject to succumbing to the difficulties and challenges in life that either we, or someone we know, face at one time or another.
"As an organization, we have the applicable policies, procedures, training, resources and services in place to help our employees and their families when they need it. We hold ourselves accountable by handling personnel matters swiftly; with transparency; with appropriate levels of discipline and intervention; and consistently respect and uphold the due process and privacy rights of our employees and former employees.
"Our citizen satisfaction survey remains high; our community support remains high; and, our crime rate continues to decline. Essentially, through our continued collective hard work and effort, we are not only meeting - but exceeding - the measures of success police departments are judged by.
"As members of a police organization, we face many personal and professional challenges on a daily basis. I would like to thank each of you for not only doing your part to keep our community safe, but to dedicating yourself to a noble profession.
"Moving forward, we must continue to keep our heads high - our community is behind us and we must continue to provide them the service that they have come to expect and deserve."
Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Mike Pooley said Peterson has been an officer with Tempe since 2007 and has been working in their Patrol Bureau as a patrol officer.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 19.
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