YREKA, Calif. — After an alarming encounter along I-5 near Weed, California, a Highway Patrol (CHP) officer was able to safely perform a traffic stop to ensure the safety of a young child on Thursday, May 17.
CHP says that one of their officers was patrolling along I-5 around noon on Thursday when he spotted a silver Toyota 4-Runner stopped in the center divider of the freeway, near the Weed Rest Area.
A woman was near the vehicle holding a paper sign that read 'HELP.' The CHP officer stopped to be of assistance, particularly since he considered this an unsafe and unusual place for the driver to be.
The woman turned out to be a 38-year-old from Bend. Her 8-year-old son and a medium-sized dog were with her. During the interaction with the woman, the officer started to notice that something wasn't right, and the woman seemed to be acting differently.
Quite suddenly, the woman returned to the driver's seat of her vehicle, brandished a knife, then drove away.
The CHP officer followed her vehicle, but kept a safe distance—unlike a normal pursuit, in hopes of not agitating the woman further.
"After numerous U-turns through the freeway center divider, and after additional CHP units arrived on scene, the officers were able to get the vehicle safely stopped," CHP said in a Facebook post.
The woman and her son were brought to the Siskiyou Behavioral Health office so that she could receive a mental health evaluation. The dog was brought to Siskiyou County Animal Control for safe keeping until the situation could be resolved.
"As California Highway Patrol Officers, we have undergone extensive training regarding persons with mental illness," CHP said in their post. "We are pleased with the safe outcome for all involved in this event. Some reports on the Internet stated a shot gun was involved, we would like to clarify there were no firearms involved or located."