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Utah man sentenced to prison for injuring police officer during high-speed chase

First Published      Last Updated Oct 17 2016 08:19 pm

A West Jordan man has been sentenced to prison for up to 15 years for injuring a police officer during a high-speed chase last year in West Valley City.

Tyrel Elsworth Cox, 33, was initially charged with first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder, along with third-degree felony failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop and two counts of third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance.

Cox pleaded guilty last week in 3rd District Court to a reduced second-degree felony count of attempted assault on a police officer, as well as to the count of failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop. In exchange for his pleas, the drug counts were dismissed.



Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman immediately sentenced Cox to prison terms of one-to-15-years and zero-to-five-years, then ordered the two terms to run consecutively to each other.

During the police chase on July 29, 2015, West Valley City police Officer Jared Cardon was trying to lay spike strips on State Road 201 when Cox swerved suddenly across three lanes and struck Cardon, injuring his leg, according to testimony at a November preliminary hearing.

Salt Lake City police detective Gordon Swift testified at the hearing that he watched from a distance as the car driven by Cox clipped Cardon, who tried to jump out of the way.

"If he hadn't made that jump, I thought it would have hit him square on," Swift testified, adding that the front passenger corner of the car hit the officer and "launched him in the air."

Officers testified they were in the area that day working a multi-agency operation targeting stolen vehicles and wanted fugitives.

Several agencies were looking for Cox on multiple warrants, and some West Valley City officers had earlier tried to stop him, but he fled.

Charging documents state that Cox sped away from officers in his car, and "traveled through red lights, and nearly collided with several vehicles."

Cox was going 90 to 100 mph on SR 201 near 4000 West, where Cardon, who was in a police uniform, was out of his vehicle and ready to lay down spike strips.

After striking Cardon, Cox continued driving east, but was stopped by a Unified Police officer using a PIT maneuver near 3600 South and 2700 West. When Cox was arrested, police found methamphetamine and cocaine on him, charges state.

Cox has a criminal history dating back almost a decade, including felony convictions for drug possession and theft by receiving stolen property, according to Utah court records.

 

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