Man arrested after stealing cop car, leading police on chase
A man's serial run-ins with police throughout the Salt Lake area Saturday culminated in his arrest after he allegedly stole a police cruiser and led multiple agencies on a chase that crossed most of the valley.
The 34-year-old Florida native, who police say was living in Utah while working on a construction crew, was kicked out of a hotel in Cottonwood Heights on Saturday morning, according to Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Mark Askerlund.
From there, the man went to Salt Lake City International Airport at about 11 a.m. Barbara Gann, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, said the man had a ticket for a scheduled flight and asked for a police escort to his gate. While airport police escorted him, he told the officers he wasn't feeling well because he had taken methamphetamine the night before and needed to go to a hospital, Gann said.
An ambulance arrived to take him to Pioneer Valley Hospital in West Valley City, but while en route the man allegedly assaulted one of the medical workers and ran out of the back of the ambulance near 2700 S. Bangerter Highway. When West Valley City Police attempted to arrest him after the escape, the man allegedly got into a brawl with officers and stole a cruiser at about 1 p.m. even after police used a stun gun on him, which had no apparent effect on him.
West Valley City Police Sgt. Mike Powell said the man seemed to be under the influence of some kind of drug, but the exact drug in the man's system hadn't been determined Saturday afternoon.
After stealing the cruiser, the man led police on a pursuit along Bangerter Highway. Powell said police decided to stop the pursuit in the interest of public safety, but technology in the cruiser helped them to find him later.
Officers from Unified Police, Utah Highway Patrol and Cottonwood Heights also helped in attempting to intercept the man along his route.
The man drove the stolen cruiser to Cottonwood Heights, where he eventually left the cruiser in a parking lot and ran away on foot. He was arrested near 3000 E. 6600 South by Cottonwood Heights Police at about 2:30 p.m. He was turned over to West Valley City Police, who booked him into Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of aggravated robbery, fleeing, assault on a health care provider, assault on a police officer, damage to a jail and criminal mischief.