Suspect arrested after Salt Lake City police car stolen, crashed on Christmas Eve

Salt Lake City police say a suspect stole a patrol car, then crashed it soon after, on Dec. 24, 2021. Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 25, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A 48-year-old man woke up in jail Christmas morning after police say he took a solo ride Christmas Eve in a stolen Salt Lake City Police car.

The investigation began at about 10:45 p.m. Dec. 24, a statement from the SLCPD says. An officer exited the car after stopping at the Gail Miller Resource Center, 242 Paramount Ave., where he had responded to assist another agency.

The officer returned to the parking lot to find his patrol car missing.

“SLCPD officers and SLC911 dispatchers worked quickly to determine the vehicle’s location,” the police statement says.

A GPS search located the patrol car traveling east on Interstate 80, just west of exit 129, near the entrance of Parleys Canyon.

“While tracking the vehicle, SLCPD received information the driver lost control of the patrol vehicle and crashed on Foothill Drive near Interstate 80,” the SLCPD statement says.

Salt Lake City police say a suspect stole a patrol car, then crashed it soon after, on Dec. 24, 2021. Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

The car was in a grassy area off the highway, and suspect Stewart Wilson was actively attempting to drive out, the probable cause statement says.

The reporting officer, whose car was the one taken, reportedly activated the top lights of the car he was in, the probable cause statement says, adding that Wilson complied with the officer’s request to exit the car with empty hands.

Once backup officers, from Utah Highway Patrol, arrived on scene, Wilson became less compliant, the affidavit says.

“He no longer would comply with commands of staying in place or keeping his hands up. A/P (accused person) was told several times to comply with the officer’s commands of not moving. The A/P began walking northbound on the I-80 east toward oncoming traffic. Officers had to restrain the A/P and tackle him to the ground.”

The statement says the stolen patrol car was found to be severely damaged. Wilson’s driver license was found to be expired.

“A/P attempted to kick a highway trooper, while in custody,” the statement adds.

Wilson faces preliminary charges of:

  • Receive or transfer of a stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony
  • Assault by a prisoner, a third-degree felony
  • Interference with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor
  • No valid license, a class B misdemeanor
  • Criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor
  • Disorderly conduct, an infraction

Wilson is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail system, where he was booked early on Christmas Day.

The police statement says preliminary investigative findings suggest the officer locked his vehicle before leaving it, but the mechanism in the key fob malfunctioned, resulting in the patrol car being unlocked when it was taken.

Salt Lake City police say a suspect stole a patrol car, then crashed it soon after, on Dec. 24, 2021. Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

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