Police: Suspect facing multiple felony charges after striking UPD officer with car

File photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah, March 22, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A 26-year-old suspect is being held without bail after he allegedly hit a Unified Police officer with his car while fleeing arrest.

Suspect Michael Rodriguez faces initial charges of:

  • *Aggravated murder, a first-degree felony. (A UPD official said the charge will be downgraded, possibly to attempted murder.)
  • Possession of a controlled substance within a correctional facility, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of assault against peace officer/military with weapon or force, a second-degree felony
  • Three counts of failure to stop or respond at command of police, a third-degree felony
  • Failure to remain at an accident involving a serious injury, a second-degree felony
  • Failure to stop at command of law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor
  • Interference with arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor

Charges will be reviewed by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, and will likely be modified before being finalized.

Rodriguez’s probable cause statement says he was observed by police as he sat in a maroon 2005 Nissan Altima with no license plate, in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 500 E., at about 11:22 p.m. Monday, March 21.

According to an officer’s affidavit, three males walked up to the Nissan, stayed for a short period of time and then walked away. “Based on my training and experience, this was behavior indicative of nefarious activities,” the officer wrote.

The vehicle left the lot on 500 East, and quickly turned east on 3955 South, the statement says.

The officer said the vehicle was then found parked facing east on the north side of the road at approximately 551 E. Delno Circle.

As the officer approached the Nissan, Rodriguez, who had been hiding in the vehicle by leaning the driver’s seat back, suddenly sat up and started the Altima, the officer’s affidavit said. “The subject then immediately accelerated,” turning the vehicle directly at the officer, and intentionally trying to run him over, the probable cause statement said.

The officer wrote that he was knocked to the ground while the suspect continued to try and run over him.

The Nissan fled west on 3955 South, the statement says. Assisting officers initiated a pursuit.

“During the pursuit, the Nissan intentionally rammed two police vehicles causing damage to them,” the probable cause statement said.

After crashing at 3900 S. State St.  the suspect fled on foot, the statement says. He was apprehended with the use of a K-9.

Rodriguez, allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine and was found with the substance in his pants pocket, the probable cause statement said.

Since Rodriguez was on probation or parole at the time of his arrest he is being held without bail.

The officer who was struck was treated at the hospital and released, Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler told Gephardt Daily.

Image: Google Maps/Gephardt Daily

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