Speeding driver attempts to switch seats, leading to more charges

FAIRBANKS, Alaska Alaska State Troopers arrested two people Wednesday after they allegedly switched places during a traffic stop.

Charging documents said that troopers attempted to pull over a truck doing 71 mph in a 55 mph zone on the Parks Highway near Healy. Troopers say the truck slowed and pulled to a stop on the side of the road, then the wheel jerked and the vehicle accelerated and began driving down the Parks. The truck jerked erratically a few times and then pulled over about a half mile later.

The trooper said he could see a lot of activity in the front seat of the vehicle.

An investigation revealed that David Guthu was driving the vehicle with a suspended license from Arizona. He attempted to switch places with Jennifer Mendez so he would not get in trouble.

When the trooper asked Mendez why she began driving and had failed to stop, she said she was nervous and didn't know she was being pulled over.

Upon further investigation, Guthu admitted he was driving and switched seats during the traffic stop, he said he accidentally pushed the accelerator which is why the vehicle began accelerating.

Mendez admitted to lying about switching seats to prevent Guthu from getting in trouble.

Troopers informed her that she would now be charged with hindering prosecution and failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer. Guthu was charged with driving with a revoked license.

Two other passengers in the car said they tried to tell them not to switch and said that they were putting everyone in danger.

Guthu and Mendez where taken to Fairbanks Correctional Center.