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Federal charges filed against duo who attempted daring escape

Published October 11, 2012 5:52 pm

Police • Man escaped from cop car; woman jimmied lock on holding cell door.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A federal grand jury indicted a couple who attempted a daring escape earlier this year while in custody of Farmington police for alleged identity and mail theft, bank fraud and other charges.

The escapade began this spring when Joseph L. Chatwin, 40, and Shauntae L. Stratton, 24, used a stolen credit card, checks and other ID cards taken from a wallet to open a bank account and purchase such items as a $30,000 motor home. They also took items that included two checks intended for Mount Olympus Presbyterian Church.

Chatwin and Stratton were arrested July 17 by Farmington police and taken in separate vehicles to the police station. As officers took Stratton to a holding cell, Chatwin managed to kick out a window of a squad car, squeeze head-first through the opening and then get away in an allegedly stolen SUV. As officers focused on Chatwin, Stratton managed to use some device to unlock the door of a holding cell and briefly take off before being recaptured.

Some weeks later, Chatwin was spotted at a home in Sandy, but managed to drive off in a stolen vehicle as police pursued him. During the chase, speeds reached 90 mph before two attempts to spike his tires finally worked.

When Chatwin's car rolled to a stop, he got out and tried to steal another car, but officers used a Taser and dog to apprehend him.

Chatwin also faces drug, resisting arrest and firearm charges, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court. The various charges carry penalties ranging from one year to 30 years in federal prison.

brooke@sltrib.com