12/14/2007

Utah officer avoids injury while being dragged by fleeing car

By Pat Reavy
The Deseret Morning News

SANDY, Utah A Sandy police officer was able to avoid serious injury early Thursday after a man he had just pulled over took off while the officer was still hanging out of his car.

About 2:20 a.m. an officer pulled over a Porsche for a routine traffic stop near 8200 South State. The driver acted very jittery and nervous when the officer approached the vehicle, said Sandy police Sgt. Victor Quezada.

After running the man's driver's license and checking registration, the officer discovered not only was the Porsche not his and the driver had no insurance, but the man also had a warrant out for his arrest for driving on a suspended license, Quezada said.

The officer walked from his patrol car back to the man's vehicle and asked him to step out of the car. Instead, the driver tried to throw the Porsche into gear and take off, Quezada said. The officer leaned in through the car window and turned off the car.

A struggle between the cop and the driver ensued. The driver managed to turn the keys in the ignition and start the car again, and this time was able to leave with the officer still dangling outside the window, Quezada said.

The officer was able to run along side the car for about 40 feet before finally freeing himself from the vehicle's interior, Quezada said.

"He does not fall down," Quezada said. "He was keeping his balance with the car door, trying to keep up with the car. He was very fortunate he didn't go down."

The officer was able to get the license of the vehicle and track down its registered owner. The car was parked at the house it was registered to, but the owner was not the man who was pulled over, Quezada said. He told the officer he loaned his car to his roommate.

Police were allowed to search the residence and found the roommate, the man from the traffic stop, hiding in a closet.

The man was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, evading and resisting arrest, reckless driving and no insurance.

Copyright 2007 Deseret Morning News

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