WILLARD, Utah, Sept. 20, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A high-speed chase that began in Weber County finally ended at a Flying J gas station in Box Elder County, but not before the truck being pursued totaled a Utah Highway Patrol trooper’s vehicle.
UHP Sgt. Brandon Whitehead said a trooper stationed out of Weber County observed a Ford F-250 truck going 95 mph in a 75-mph zone on Interstate 15 around 7:48 p.m. Monday.
The trooper tried to stop the truck near 2700 North, but the driver refused to yield and sped up.
Near the Weber-Box Elder county line, a construction zone brings the road down to two lanes, with no shoulder. Whitehead said it appeared to the trooper that the truck was going to take the exit, but the driver swerved back on the road at the last minute.
Going 100 mph, the driver of the Ford started brake-checking in an apparent attempt to get the trooper to crash into him. At one point, the suspect actually backed the truck into the front of the trooper’s car.
The driver then stopped the Ford several yards ahead of the trooper and got out, wielding a 6-inch to 7-inch-long hunting knife, and gesturing menacingly. When the trooper stayed in his vehicle, the suspect got back in the truck and drove off again, varying his speed between 30 and 100 mph.
“There was no rhyme or reason to it,” Whitehead said.
The truck, still speeding, exited the highway at 750 North and pulled into the Flying J parking lot, where it again backed into the trooper’s car, this time smashing the passenger side.
The driver then ran away behind some semis that were parked near the gas station. A trucker, who just happened to be eating in his truck, saw the suspect trying to hide behind some vehicles and flashed his lights to alert all the officers who had converged on the scene.
Whitehead said the suspect then came into view pretending to be a witness, pointing north and yelling, “He’s over there! He’s over there!”
The suspect was taken down physically when he resisted arrest. Officers used what is called a “drive stun,” Whitehead said, where the cartridge is taken out of the Taser.
Whitehead said, “It’s reasonable to suggest he was high on illicit drugs,” but tests and toxicology results take about 25 to 30 days to come back.
In addition to the knife, officers found a loaded handgun on the back floorboard of the Ford truck.
The suspect has been identified as Jason Duane Hardman, 46. Hardman was booked into the Weber County Jail on charges of:
- Aggravated assault
- Failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer
- Interference with an arresting officer
- Driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level at or over .08
- Carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless driving
Also in the Ford was a dog, a blue heeler, which Whitehead described as “another unfortunate victim of the man’s poor decisions.” The dog was transferred to Brigham City, where it could be cared for.