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Joyride in Unified Police cruiser lands man in jail

Published December 13, 2012 1:20 pm

Crime • Suspect took officer's car, drove into police parking lot.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

As joyrides in stolen police cruisers go, it was a brief one — and it ended with a detour to the Salt Lake County jail.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said the incident began late Thursday morning when an officer responded to a 911 call about a suspicious man — in dark clothing and carrying a large trash bag — peering into the windows and yards of homes in a Kearns neighborhood.

About 11 a.m., the officer spotted the man and approached him. A brief foot chase ensued, and the officer caught him. However, as she attempted to handcuff the suspect, he broke away. During the ensuing struggle, the man allegedly attempted to take the officer's firearm from her.

Hoyal said she succeeded in breaking loose and retaining her weapon, but the suspect then jumped behind the wheel of her cruiser. He sped away as the officer tried unsuccessfully to shock him with a Taser.

Other UPD officers soon gave chase through residential streets at speeds up to 50 mph. Then moments later, the suspect inexplicably decided to drive into the Kearns UPD substation parking lot at 4250 W. 5415 South.

An unmarked UPD car moved to block him in, but the stolen vehicle was still in drive. So, as officers converged on him, the cruiser crashed into the unmarked unit, causing minor damage to both vehicles, Hoyal said.

No injuries were reported.

The suspect, a 41-year-old Kearns man, was booked on charges including suspicion of resisting arrest, fleeing an officer and auto theft.

remims@sltrib.com