At about 3 in the morning on Saturday, August 16, 1975, Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Bob Hayward pulled over a young man in a tan VW after a short but high speed car chase...
The trooper had apparently spooked his target, who would soon identify himself as Ted Bundy, while he’d been sitting in the dark outside a home in Hayward’s suburban Salt Lake City neighborhood. At the time, Bob Hayward had no idea who he’d collared, or the significance of his actions: “It would have been routine, except it happened to be the right guy,” he told the Deseret News in 1986.
The morning after the arrest, Hayward wrote in his incident report: “I was coming off shift and was sitting in my patrol car in front of my house on Hogan Street in Granger. I noticed a gray VW pass me slowly, going south, with its lights off. I checked the license plate but did not recognize that car. After about ten minutes, the sheriff called for some assistance. As I was going up Brock Street, a VW took off, going north at a high rate of speed. I pursued him, also at a high rate of speed. I had the red light on him when he ran the stop sign, but he just went as fast as a Volkswagen would go. I pulled up on him fast, and he finally pulled over into a gas station. He produced his driver’s license which identified him as Theodore Robert Bundy, 565 1st Ave, Salt Lake City. The man was wearing dark pants, a black turtleneck with long sleeves, and sneakers. He said he was lost in the subdivision, but he had been there for ten minutes, only a block away from me on Brock Street.”
The veteran officer instantly felt suspicious. Bundy’s drivers license listed his address on the other side of town near the university. Why was he sitting in his darkened car in the middle of the night, dressed completely in black, in a quiet family neighborhood ten miles away from home? “Something was wrong, and it just got stranger and stranger,” the patrolman recalled. Indeed, a consent search of the VW raised even more cause for alarm: the passenger seat had been removed; it lay on its side in the backseat. In its place there was a satchel on the floor, containing an ice pick, a pair of nylon pantyhose which had a mouth hole and eyes cut out, a ski mask, several lengths of sheet material torn into strips, and lengths of rope. A pair of cheap handcuffs were in the trunk. Tucked beneath the driver’s seat was a 14-inch crowbar.
The incident report continued: “I called for a patrol car to come over and they sent a deputy. We talked to Mr. Bundy and he told us that he had been to the Valley Vu drive-in theater to see ‘The Towering Inferno.’ We checked the theater and that movie was not playing. When confronted with this information, he changed his story and just said he was lost. The items in his car were like something only a burglar would carry, not someone going to the movies.”
A year later, Utah Division of Corrections investigator Don Hull interviewed Hayward again and related the story with more detail in his diagnostic study report:
“Sgt. Hayward recounts that he pursued the defendant’s Volkswagen through the winding residential community, almost losing sight of it as the VW was able to out-corner and out-maneuver the rather large, cumbersome police vehicle. Sgt. Hayward recalls that he ran stop signs at Brock Street and LeMay, and again at the entrance of 35th South off of Brock Street.
Throughout the pursuit, Hayward had his red spotlight on the fleeing vehicle. At the corner of 27th West and 35th South, the pursuit ended as Mr. Bundy pulled over. The subject stated that he was lost in the subdivision and was trying to find his way out. Hayward questioned Bundy as to his reasons for being in the community at 3 a.m., and the defendant replied that he had just returned from a movie, ‘The Towering Inferno’ at a local drive-in theater. A check revealed that this movie had not been playing that particular evening; when confronted with this fact, the subject then changed his story to say that he was lost in the subdivision and was simply trying to find his way out. Sgt. Hayward made a consensual search of the automobile and found a set of handcuffs. Also found was an ice pick and other tools scattered about the vehicle.”
Bundy, who had greeted his wary detainer by stepping out of the car with a wide grin and hands raised, attempted to defuse the situation with pleasant small talk, casually mentioning that he was a law student at the university. Hayward wasn’t assuaged. The highway patrolman arrested Bundy for evading police, and took him to the county jail for booking.
Bob Hayward mentioned the strange arrest to his brother, Salt Lake County Sheriff Pete Hayward. During discussion at the weekly sheriff’s office meeting the following Tuesday, Deputy Ben Forbes recalled receiving the name “Theodore Bundy” and his photograph from police in Washington State as a potential suspect in their shared problem of serially murdered young women. The witness composite from the double abduction in Lake Sammamish and description of that suspect’s VW seemed to match their recent collar. Detective Jerry Thompson also noted the similarity in circumstances to Carol DaRonch’s attempted kidnapping from the previous fall. He later said, “It was almost too good to be true. The VW and the handcuffs especially stuck out in my mind.” Following this lead, on August 21 Deputy Darrel Ondrak arrested Bundy again for possession of burglary tools, and again he was placed in jail. Detective Forbes interviewed the suspiciously cooperative suspect in custody that day, and asked for an explanation for the odd items he had in his car. Forbes wrote in his report:
“Bundy claimed he’d found the handcuffs in a garbage dump in Salt Lake. He informed me that when he was in Seattle he had detained a subject who was stealing a ten-speed bicycle and that he had to scuffle with the party until the police arrived and had no way of restraining him; when he found the handcuffs in this dump up by his apartment, he thought that they would be a good item to carry around in case a similar situation ever arose.
His explanation for the pantyhose with mouth and eye holes cut out and the ski mask was that last winter he had a lot of night classes at the University of Utah and the weather was very cold and he was not used to that. He explained that he was attending late night classes and that he had watched a program on mountaineering, and the climbers used pantyhose masks under their ski masks to stay warm, so he did the same when attending his late night classes.
His explanation for the pieces of white sheet material and rope was that he owns a small raft which he rows around and he used these to tie the oars together and keep everything in a neat bundle.
His explanation for the icepick was that it’s a common household piece of equipment. Bundy was very cooperative during this interview and repeated several times that he just wanted to cooperate.”
Despite the growing trouble he was in, Bundy downplayed the circumstances of the arrest when describing it to his downstairs neighbor and occasional lover Margith Maughan. He told her he’d been out for a ride and wanted to go to Heber [a town 43 miles southeast of his home], but discovered he didn’t have the money so he drove aimlessly around the valley, ending up in Granger. According to Maughan, Bundy said he’d noticed a vehicle coming up on him rapidly from behind, so he started out and then the red lights came on indicating a police car so he pulled over and stopped. He told her they went through his ashtray “trying to find marijuana seeds” but couldn’t find any. The patrolman then told him that he was the same vehicle that had evaded him earlier and that’s why he was arrested. Maughan recalled that Bundy told her he’d let them search his car. A judge’s daughter with knowledge of the law, she asked him, “Why’d you do that? They’d have to get a search warrant,” and he said “No, I let them, I’ve got nothing to hide, and they’re too dumb to find anything anyway.”
Back in Seattle, girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer knew something strange was going on with Ted. In late September, he called and mentioned that he was coming back to Seattle for a visit. Already suspecting Ted’s involvement in the murders, Kloepfer called King County Police and asked them what she should do. They told her to go ahead and tell him she knew he was under investigation. Kloepfer (pen name Kendall) writes in The Phantom Prince: “I told him I knew he had been arrested. ‘What? Just for speeding?’ he told me, kind of laughing. ‘It was really nothing. I went through a stop sign and a highway patrolman picked me up.’
‘No. I know that you were charged with possession of burglary tools.’
‘They’re harassing me. I was just out driving. When he stopped me, he went through my car. I just had a bunch of stuff that I’d collected …. He called it suspicious, and now they’re out to get me.’
‘If it was just nothing, why did you run?’
‘I didn’t run anywhere.’ His voice was trembling. ‘The policeman got upset, that’s all. I was just speeding, but he called it evading.’
‘Why did you have those things in the car?’ I asked him.
‘Really, Liz, it was just an accumulation of junk. I had the rope from the raft in that brown bag, you know. And a crowbar that is really handy for prying cars apart. The search will never hold up in court. It was clearly illegal. Who told you about it, anyway?’
Ignoring his question, I asked him, ‘What about the pantyhose?’
‘Oh that. I wear that under my ski mask when I’m shoveling snow. It’s left over from last winter. I’m really going to get mad. Tomorrow, I’m going to talk with some people here and tell them to leave me and my friends alone. I’m really ticked off… What did the police tell you?’ he demanded.
‘Only that you’d been arrested and charged with possession of burglary tools.’
‘What did you tell them?’ He was so agitated. I felt sorry for him.
He said he was going to call Ann Rule, a middle-aged woman he had worked with at the Crisis Clinic. She was close to the police, and Ted apparently thought she would be able to tell him how much they knew. He called me back, this time frantic…”
The arrest soon led to a lineup on October 2, in which Carol DaRonch identified him as the man who had attempted to abduct her almost a year earlier. While on trial for her kidnapping, Bundy presented a new version of the story to explain what he was doing in Granger in the wee hours of the morning. During direct examination on the stand, he claimed that he’d gotten off work from his night watchman job at the university around 11 p.m., and decided to go see a girlfriend (Leslie Knudson). She wasn’t awake, so he just decided to drive until he “felt tired enough to come home and go to bed.” He continued:
“I decided to explore an area of the city I hadn’t been in before, and decided to go as far west as I could go… I went through all the residential areas, and I was feeling pretty good. I got to an area where I just got tired of driving. I turned around and started coming back. And on the way back I decided to smoke [a marijuana] cigarette. So I turned off into a dark side street. It didn’t seem to me to be wise to do that on a main lit street like the one I was on, so I looked for the first side street, and pulled over to a point to where I felt I was out of the mainstream of traffic at that time…
I pulled out and I happened to see a car in my rear view mirror, or off to my left shoulder, and I turned the corner heading back toward the street from which I had come. Then as I was going, I made two left hand turns and I was heading down the street, I saw a car coming around the corner quite fast, and I assumed at that time it was the same car, and all of a sudden I became frightened, paranoid, I can’t describe to you the feeling. But I knew that what I was doing was definitely illegal, that is, smoking dope. I have always been paranoid about doing it because I was a law student. I just wanted to make sure I got rid of this stuff as quick as I could and air out the car just on case it was the police.
My first impulse was to get rid of the remainder of the joint that I was smoking, and then look for the bag that I had left in the car. I remember making another turn, and searching and finding the remainder and throwing that out the window, turning back towards the street I had come on. I did go through a stop sign. I would be darned if I was going to be caught with that stuff in my car. I wound down my window, was trying to air out the car, and went on to 3500 South. [After Sgt. Hayward pulled me over] I hopped out of my car and I met him midway between where he parked his car and my car. Embarrassingly enough, I had forgotten my license, and he asked me for my license after he said a couple of other things. I got my license, I gave it to him. He checked out my license and told me to stand by the car while he looked in my car with a flashlight…
I was pretty well scared, because they may have found something in there as marijuana seed or something I hadn’t gotten rid of, contraband. That’s why it seemed so absurd to me that they started looking for other things.”
When asked to explain why he’d lied to police about going to a movie, Bundy claimed: “At the time it seemed a plausible explanation, and I recall having seen a movie theater and a marquee somewhere in my driving out there that evening… I don’t imagine they would have been too thrilled by my explanation I had been smoking dope in their neighborhood.” Bob Hayward testified for the prosecution at trial that there was no evidence to suggest his story was true. Despite his innocent-sounding explanations, Bundy was found guilty of kidnapping Carol DaRonch on March 1, 1976. Even after his conviction, the defendant released an indignant statement, vehemently denying “clandestine hypotheses” of any nefarious intent that night:
“…No fact seems to have had more incriminating significance to the prosecution in the kidnapping case and, at the same time, no fact was more patently immaterial to the issue of guilt or innocence in that case than an incident which took place over nine months after the crime. The fact that I was stopped on August 16, 1975, and that handcuffs were found in my car was a dominating factor in the kidnapping trial. Undeniably, handcuffs, a crowbar, ski mask, pantyhose, strips of cloth, an ice pick were collected from various locations in my car.
The fact is that I had never contemplated using these items for any unlawful purpose, nor can any such purpose be shown. The fact is that these items were a part of a vast array of tools and miscellanea carried in my car, some as ‘strange’ as the allegedly nefarious items seized. Not seized by the police was an Army shovel, plastic boat oars, flares; tire chains, VW repair manuals, hack saws, coveralls, a rubber hose, cans of oil, a length of heavy chain, and a complete tool box containing among other things, a rubber mallet.
Admittedly, the circumstances were unusual. If my explanation involving the use of marijuana and my late working hours is not to be believed, then, I suppose some will turn to a plethora of clandestine hypotheses which lack only one thing: evidence to substantiate them.
So while I stand guilty of being strange on one occasion at the age of twenty-nine, I am perplexed by the imaginative insinuations which attempt to link the ‘strangeness’ with a ten-month-old kidnapping…
Finally, I wish to discuss my statements made to officers at the scene on August 16, and other considerations which allegedly diminished my credibility.
My statements to the police that I had been somewhere that evening where I had in fact not been has a regrettable subterfuge. I should not have told the police an untruth. I had the right to remain silent, and even though I was never advised of that right, I should have exercised it. Caught in a compromising situation between telling the officer’s I had been smoking marijuana or proposing some less intimidating explanation, I chose the wrong compromise. There was really no need to compromise at all.
The prosecution inferred that my lie to the police on that evening and my failure to reveal my actual activity to my attorney made me a pathological liar and a discredited witness. The argument is totally unpersuasive. To begin with, I voluntarily took the stand and admitted my errors. I submit that making an erroneous statement to a group of belligerent police officers while standing alone on a deserted street corner at 2:00 in the morning does not suggest that would lie while under oath in court of law about my non-involvement in a kidnapping. Nor is there any validity to the assumption that a person who lies, whether out of habit or necessity is the kind of a person who would abduct a teenage girl from a shopping mall. The prosecutory argument which asserts I was not a credible witness has not basis in logic or fact because it cannot be shown that I lied on the witness stand.
My failure to inform my attorney of my true activities on August 16 reflects a difference in priorities as much as it does my own shortcomings. Mr. O’Connell was concerned about the prejudicial repercussions that testimony regarding August 16 would have on the kidnap trial. On the other hand, I felt strongly then, as I do now, that August 16 was just a ploy advanced by a desperate prosecution and, with the exception of the seizure of the handcuffs, was a completely immaterial occurrence. I saw no reason to advertise my use of marijuana which I also felt was immaterial and itself potentially prejudicial.
Given the embarrassment my admission concerning marijuana caused me, it was to my credit that I revealed my use of it in public. I doubt that all members of the legal profession, who have smoked the substance, would be as candid…
Judge Hanson, when administering ‘jury instructions’ to himself, openly assured those present that only testimony and evidence probative to November 8, 1974, would guide his determination in the kidnapping trial. The conclusion, l believe, was that he would ignore the “bad man” inferences offered by the prosecution based on August 16, 1975.
In the final analysis, the only remotely probative force arising out of August 16, was my possession of handcuffs nine months after a kidnapping in which a different pair of handcuffs was used. The prosecutor’s preoccupation with a motor vehicle violation unrelated in time and circumstance to the offense in question belied their desperation and the weakness of their case. Hopefully, the judge was able to dismiss the immaterial allegations associated with August 16, 1975…”
Nearly two years later in February 17, 1978, Bundy told this story again to detectives in Pensacola, Florida shortly after his final arrest. Hoping to chip away at his defenses, Detective Patchen began asking for stories of Ted’s other adventures, such as his escapes or his previous arrests. Against the advice of his defense counsel, Ted retold the morning of August 16, 1975 in interesting detail: “I was arrested for attempting to evade a police officer… in my Volkswagen, it speeds in excess of 30 miles an hour. He just wanted to stop me because he didn’t like me…
Bundy: It was early on a Saturday morning in a residential area of Salt Lake City. And a State Patrol, highway Patrolman of Utah, who was parked in front of his house saw several cars passing by ‘and at this early hour’ you know. He was sort of waiting to get off work and he was just sitting around idling the engine. And he got a call– I don’t know why I’m telling his story, but I’ll tell you my story. I was in the neighborhood and he, uh, pulled around the corner the same time I was driving off and I pulled my lights on and as I pulled my lights on he came around the corner and he saw this and according to him he hadn’t seen that particular car in that neighborhood before so he was suspicious but he was on another call. Not a serious call apparently. because he began to follow me and he was in an unmarked car, I didn’t know who he was. l had been smoking some pot that night, l had some dope in the car and uh you know I was in a strange neighborhood and he started to follow me and I didn’t know, I really didn’t know who he was. It could have been a policeman; I didn’t know I honestly didn’t see any markings on the car it could have been just anybody. But he followed me around two turns and I knew I didn’t like anybody following me so I increased my speed. This was a small neighborhood and I was in a Volkswagen but I suppose we got up tp 35 or 40 miles an hour going down that street. Turned a couple of corners and I went through a stop sign… you know his story is that he had the lights on me, and I’ve got no reason to bullshit you now because I would have got convicted of that, going around a couple of corners going through a couple of stop signs. And I got up to the main drag and he came around on the main drag and I saw he had one of these red landing lights, he didn’t have flashing lights just little red landing lights on. So he pulled up to me, I-I had the initial impulse to speed up and I said, ‘Oh, Jesus you know this is getting nowhere now,’ and so I pulled over and he pulled in back of me and I knew he was definitely following me so I pulled over to the side of the road and uh, he searched my car. Well, he looked in it with a flashlight and then he entered the car and he searched the car. He went into the car and and he was suspicious as hell. He had me for going through stop signs, that was about the extent of it. He did arrest and book me that night for ‘Attempt to Evade a Police Officer.’ You know it was just really an arrest investigation charge. But he searched the car and in the front seat he found a brown satchel. And, uh, in the satchel there was a there was all kinds of stuff. It was sort of a junk bag that I carried around in my car, there was rags and there was rope in it, there was a ski hat in it, there was panty hose in it with the eyes cut out, there was an ice pick in it… what rang the bell was the handcuffs in the Volkswagen. I mean this other mysterious shit they were, just odd stuff. You know what they did with it, they charged me with possession of burglary tools. The only point of that was to get me downtown where a Homicide Detective interviewed me and asked me about the stuff in my car and then asked me for a consent search of my apartment which I gave to him and informed me that my vehicle matched the description of the vehicle used in that abduction.
Detective Patchen: What was the significance for the pantyhose and eyeholes cut out and what have you; you mind telling us?
Bundy: Well, you know, that is kind of strange, and uh, um, *laughs* it is kind of strange…Detective Patchen: Did you use it to hide your identity?
Bundy: I never used it to hide my identity quite frankly.
Detective Patchen: Did you plan on using it to hide your identity for one reason or another?
Bundy: Well, my story was at the time— you don’t want to hear that, so I you know I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I, it doesn’t really have any significance anywhere. Here or in Utah it was never used…
Later that year, in May, Ted sent a letter from Florida to his Salt Lake attorneys John O’Connell and Bruce Lubeck after being arrested for the last time. In the rather defeated-sounding letter, Bundy reflected on his emotions after the first arrest:
“It was important to me at the time that people didn’t know about Hayward’s arrest or Ben Forbes’ allegation the day before, that my car resembled the one used in an abduction at the Fashion Place Mall. What I knew was unimportant – I could live with that – it was the prospect of other people even suspecting that made me shake and sweat. My world was shuttering, but it wouldn’t fall. This was just going to be another close call. I would ride it out; it couldn’t possibly be a serious threat. They were just guessing now. I’d call their bluff…
You see, I was okay – all I needed was one more chance, just one more. I was Ted Bundy; I’d never done anything wrong in my life; people respected me; I had a girl friend; for Christsakes, I was even a law student. I haven’t done anything wrong; no one can identify me. No, they’re only gambling, taking a long shot…”
Unfortunately for Bundy, soon police were able to fit the circumstantial evidence together, connecting him to the missing and murdered girls cases in Utah, Colorado, and Washington State. Law enforcement from all three states had a strong feeling they’d apprehended their suspect. Detective Thompson later said, “You just knew we all had the same problem. You just knew it.” A chain of events had begun which would eventually lead Ted Bundy to the electric chair.
After Bundy’s execution, Hayward explained to Salt Lake’s Deseret News that the arrest of August 16, 1975 was merely a stroke of luck. When he received the radio call for assistance that night, he took a wrong turn out of the subdivision and onto Brock Street. “I turned right, something I normally wouldn’t have done. It was unusual because normally I would have driven two streets ahead to get out of the subdivision more quickly. I turned the corner, and there was Bundy’s car, stopped on the right side of the street,” Hayward recalled. “I often wonder back if the Lord sent me in that direction,” he said. “If I didn’t get him that night and stop him, I don’t know how many more he would have got… He acted normal. I could smell no alcohol or beer on his breath. There was nothing to indicate anything was wrong. But it just didn’t add up. He was a nice-looking young man. He was obviously bright and well-educated. He didn’t seem like the type to be putting himself in that kind of situation. I wanted this guy mugged and fingerprinted.”
Perhaps part of Hayward’s uneasiness that night had to do with the fact that the strange young man had been sitting outside his neighbors’ darkened home only a block over. The trooper knew the Gregson* family personally, well enough to know that the parents were out of town, and their two teenage daughters were home alone.
16-year-old Kelly Gregson was the older of those girls on Brock Street. A pretty high school sophomore at the time, Kelly had been working the closing shift that Friday night. The teen had a waitressing job at the nearby Heaps of Pizza restaurant, and came home late, around midnight as she often did in the summer. In our recent interview, Kelly explained that at 3 a.m. on August 16, she’d been fast asleep, and heard nothing. A few days after the arrest, she recalled, Bob Hayward came over to her house and asked to speak with her and her parents. He showed her Bundy’s first mugshot and asked if anyone in the household had seen him or a light colored VW before. Kelly didn’t recognize him, and had never noticed anyone lurking about, peeping in her windows, or following her. Kelly told me:
“I lived near the end of Brock Street, and there was a streetlight at the corner. Bob told me that Bundy was hanging out right in front of my house, under the light…
I remember being real shook up at the time; I didn’t know if he had maybe followed me home from work or what. But since I never saw him, I could tell myself ‘oh, it wasn’t me he was after. He was just parked there.’ I just told myself that, even though I knew I fit the victim profile…
I remember after that girl got kidnapped from the mall, everyone was scared. We were so relieved when they caught him. I saw that recent documentary where they talked about the night of his arrest, and I told my family, just, ‘oh my gosh, that was my house.’ We’ll never really know what he was doing that night, but I’m just so grateful to Bob for being there. He was such a kind man and a good neighbor. He may have saved my life.”
- The Phantom Prince by Elizabeth Kendall
- Memo to the Florida Attorney General, March 10, 1989
- The Diagnostic Study of Theodore Bundy, by Donald Hull
- DaRonch Trial Testimony of Ted Bundy, February 1976
- 2020 Interview with Kelly Gregson*
- The Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune
- Police reports of Sgt. Hayward, Ben Forbes, and Jerry Thompson
- Excerpts from the ‘Pensacola Interviews’, February 1978
- Letter to attorneys Bruce Lubeck and John O’Connell, May 10, 1978
*Name changed for privacy.