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UHP: Suspect rams deputy after dramatic chase

Published January 25, 2014 9:03 pm

Grand County • Investigators trying to determine who the suspect, who was knocked out, is.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A man was knocked unconscious and hospitalized after allegedly ramming an officer with a stolen car — the sudden end to a long chase.

About 8:30 a.m. Saturday, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper saw a white BMW with no registration driving east on Interstate 70, near Thompson in Grand County. The BMW was going a little more than 90 mph, according to a UHP news release.

When the trooper tried to stop the BMW, the driver fled, so the trooper gave chase. A few moments into the pursuit, the BMW pulled off to the right and stopped long enough for a female passenger to get out before the car sped off again, the release adds.

After making sure the woman was alright, the trooper resumed the chase and notified fellow troopers in Green River about the woman's location. She was later taken to Moab for questioning.

The pursuit continued onto State Road 128 where Grand County Sheriff's deputies set up spikes to try to stop the BMW. But the suspect avoided them and turned onto Castle Valley Road, heading into the La Sal Mountains, according to the release.

Several law enforcement agencies set up road blocks, but a State Parks officer spotted the BMW turning around at the base of the mountains to head back the way it came on Castle Valley Road. The original trooper and a Grand County deputy went to cut off the BMW with more spikes.

The BMW stopped in front of the trooper and the deputy. The trooper drew his gun and ordered the suspect to get out of the vehicle. But the suspect instead accelerated and rammed the deputy's patrol vehicle while the deputy was still behind the wheel, according to the release.

The deputy suffered only minor injuries, while the impact knocked the suspect unconscious. The deputy was taken to Moab Regional Hospital for observation while the suspect, who did not regain consciousness, was flown in a helicopter to Utah Regional Medical Center.

Investigators learned that the BMW was reported stolen out of Texas. They also found a stolen Arizona license plate inside, as well as numerous credit cards and "other items that indicated that other crimes were committed," according to the news release, though it does not specify what those items were.

Thus far, investigators have not been able to identify the suspect; they found several different identification cards inside the BMW, the release adds.

Investigators are waiting to obtain a search warrant before searching the car any further, said UHP Sgt. Jason Cox.

The original trooper's dash camera was recording during the entire incident, though it was not clear as of Saturday afternoon whether it captured the collision at the end. The Grand County Sheriff's Office and Agent Clarence Smith with the State Bureau of Investigation will conduct the follow-up investigation.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda