- Associated Press - Monday, April 18, 2016

QUARTZSITE, Ariz. (AP) - A five-mile backup on Interstate 10 in western Arizona resulted from a quickly defused confrontation between law enforcement officers and a woman from Japan who didn’t know American driving practices, a sheriff’s official said Monday.

The woman kept driving her rental car at normal highway speed for miles after an officer activated his emergency lights and siren to pull her over for a traffic violation on eastbound I-10 late Sunday, La Paz County sheriff’s Lt. Curt Bagby said.

Bagby said two other motorists eventually slowed their own vehicles ahead of the woman’s rental car to force her to stop.

According to Bagby, sheriff’s deputies and Quartzsite police officers initially approached the woman’s car with guns drawn and pointed down before things calmed when the officers realized the woman wasn’t a threat, didn’t have any criminal intent and wasn’t driving under the influence of alcohol.

The woman, whose identity wasn’t released, was allowed to resume her journey without being cited after officers spoke with her through a translation service, Bagby said. “She really wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

The officers’ cautious response in initially approaching the woman’s car with guns drawn was appropriate under the circumstances, Bagby said.

“Usually if somebody fails to yield, officers have to be concerned because it’s not normal to not stop,” he said. “They have to do that for their own safety.”

Kelly Moeur, the Japanese government’s honorary consul in Phoenix, said he had no information about the incident.

The Arizona Department of Transportation posted a Twitter note Sunday night saying the backup during the traffic stop had grown to five miles.

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