CEDAR CITY — A man wanted for murder in Louisiana was charged Tuesday with causing an hourslong standoff on I-15 over the weekend by holding a 2-year-old hostage.
Zeland Adams, 28, was charged in Iron County's 5th District Court with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; theft, a second-degree felony; failing to stop at the command of a law enforcer, a third-degree felony; as well as giving false identification and reckless endangerment.
On Sunday, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper was notified of a possible homicide suspect in the area. Adams was wanted in connection with the death of Quincy Wafer, 27, of Kent, Washington, according to investigators. Wafer's body was found burned and charred earlier this month in Tallulah, Louisiana. He is one of four suspects in the case.
The trooper spotted the suspect vehicle at a gas station in Cedar City. He asked for identification from Adams, who gave him a false ID, according to court records. After he let the vehicle go on its way, the trooper contacted an investigator in Louisiana who sent the trooper a picture of Adams. When the trooper realized the man he had just questioned was the person he was looking for, he chased after the vehicle.
The trooper caught up with the vehicle and pulled it over. Two adults jumped out. But Adams got into the driver's seat and sped away with a 2-year-old boy still in the vehicle, the charges state.
Speeds of the ensuing chase reached 130 mph. His tires were eventually spiked and the chase came to a stop on I-15, approximately 18 miles north of Parowan.
"When the car stopped, Adams yelled out the window that he had a gun and he would kill the child if we approached," the trooper wrote in his report.
Traffic on I-15 was shut down between Beaver and Cedar City for five hours while law enforcers tried to negotiate with Adams. Negotiators eventually talked Adams into surrendering after he called family members from multiple cellphones, allegedly telling them he was willing to shoot at police.
Authorities believe the men accused in Wafer's death have ties to a Mexican drug cartel and killed Wafer after he stole drugs
Adams had been in trouble with the law in Utah prior to Sunday's incident. Utah court records show Adams took a plea in abeyance in January to drug possession and an amended charge of attempted obstruction of justice in Emery County.