Teton County sheriff hurt during Driggs car chase

A Driggs woman was held in the Madison County Jail on Saturday after a hit-and-run accident and 12-minute pursuit that injured Teton County Sheriff Tony Liford and an unidentified woman.

According to a Teton County Sheriff’s Office news release, the incident unfolded at 5:53 p.m. Friday, when the Sheriff’s Office received a report that a female pedestrian was struck by a white Subaru on North Main Street in Driggs.

“The (female) driver … did not stop … and headed south through Driggs on Highway 33,” the release said.

Fire and EMS units were dispatched to the accident scene and transported the victim to Teton Valley Hospital, where she was treated for what authorities described as minor injuries. The injured pedestrian’s name, age, hometown and condition were not released Saturday.

The driver of the Subaru was identified as Driggs resident Danielle Rorabaugh.

Rorabaugh was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, battery, fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer and child endangerment, the release said. A child riding in the vehicle with Rorabaugh was not injured. The child was taken into protective custody when Rorabaugh was arrested.

Minutes after the hit-and-run, deputies spotted the Subaru south of Driggs. But the driver (Rorabaugh) “failed to stop … “and began to actively evade the pursuing units,” the release said, eventually making a U-turn and heading back toward Driggs on Highway 33.

“Several citizen vehicles attempted to assist the pursuing units by blocking the (fleeing) vehicle in,” the release said.

The brief chase continued into the Creekside Meadow Subdivision south of Driggs. While one Sheriff’s unit followed the Subaru, another went to a bridge in the subdivision to block the roadway, the release said.

The Subaru approached the Sheriff’s vehicle blocking the roadway and slowed when Liford “verbally demanded the driver (Rorabaugh) stop,” the release said.

But as Liford approached the Subaru, the “suspect accelerated striking the sheriff with her vehicle.” Liford escaped with minor injuries.

Deputy Clint Lemieux then got out of his vehicle and approached the Subaru, the release said, ordering the driver (Rorabaugh) to get out of the car. When she failed to do so, Lemieux approached the driver’s door and, using his collapsible baton, shattered the vehicle’s window. He then tried to pull the driver from the car, the release said, but she accelerated and the chase resumed.

The Subaru left the subdivision and headed north into Driggs, the release said, returning to the location of the hit-and-run accident. The Subaru then stopped on the lawn of a nearby residence, where deputies arrested Rorabaugh.

Assistant City Editor Mike Mooney can be reached at 542-6764.

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