A North Salt Lake man is in police custody after allegedly robbing two restaurants and leading police on a high-speed chase with his 10-year-old son in his car.
Witnesses told police a man wearing a Halloween wolf mask entered a JB's restaurant, 4795 W. 3500 South, and robbed the business while holding a handgun, said West Valley Police Sgt. Randy Pond.About 30 minutes later, police received a second report that a man wearing a wolf mask and holding a handgun had entered and robbed a Marie Callender's restaurant, 2882 W. 4700 South, Pond said. In both instances, witnesses identified a similar escape vehicle.
Within minutes, officer Terry Chen spotted the car eastbound on 4100 South near 2300 West, Pond said. The car failed to stop and Chen chased him through several subdivisions.
The chase lasted about five minutes and reached speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, Pond said. At one point, the fleeing vehicle hit a curve and damaged the front left tire, which began to leak air. Police also performed a "pursuit intervention maneuver" in which the pursuing patrol car taps the fleeing vehicle, causing it to lose control and stop.
When Chen approached the driver, he noticed a 10-year-old boy inside the vehicle. The man told police the boy is his son.
"We had no idea the kid was in the car until it was all over," Pond said. "We feel like he endangered the child."
The man, a 34-year-old transient, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated robbery, evading a police officer and child abuse.