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Elusive fugitive evades scores of officers for 5 hours

Arrest in riverbed ends chase; man now faces many new charges

SHARE Elusive fugitive evades scores of officers for 5 hours

For five hours a fugitive wanted for violating his parole ducked, dodged and evaded scores of police officers throughout the Salt Lake Valley but was finally arrested in a Millcreek riverbed Friday evening.

During the ordeal, the 23-year-old man allegedly carjacked at least two families and attempted at least another two carjackings as helicopters, federal, local officers and police dogs spent the day searching.

"He was just an individual who said he wasn't going back to prison alive," Salt Lake police robbery squad Lt. Jack Rickards said. "He's a very dangerous individual."

The day's events began about noon near 2100 South 700 East when city police received a tip that a fugitive was in the area. Later, police tried to apprehend the man at his home, but as police busted in the front door the man fled out the back, Rickards said. The fugitive then ran to a nearby restaurant where he forced a man and his child from their car and drove away.

Rickards and another police lieutenant were in the area and played a hunch.

"The last carjacking suspect we had went to Sugarhouse Park so we figured we'd go look for him there," Rickards said. At the nearby park Rickards drove past a man matching the fugitive's description going the wrong way on the park's southern loop. A chase, which reached 70 mph, ensued but police backed off when it became dangerous. Eventually, police resumed the pursuit near 200 East and 800 South when witnesses reported the fugitive crashed the stolen car on a side street.

After the wreck, the fugitive searched for a new ride and attempted to carjack at least two people before coming upon Kelly and Douglas Jones, who live in their van along with 14-month-old daughter Ivy Shu'rai.

"The police told us he could get kidnapping charges for taking us, but I don't really feel it was kidnapping," said Kelly Jones. "He just stood their begging us to please give him a ride."

Douglas Jones added, "Yeah, he was whining like a baby."

The Joneses, who often afford rides to street kids, let the man in, not knowing police all over the valley were looking for their passenger.

"He told us the police were looking for him, but we thought he was just freakin' out and paranoid," Kelly Jones said.

After spending an hour driving along backroads and through apartment complexes, the man told the Joneses to let him out near 8700 South and State.

The Joneses were not injured during the ordeal, and both parents identified the man they gave a ride to from a photo lineup.

After playing cat and mouse over the valley for the next three hours, police finally arrested the man after 5 p.m. near 4700 South and 900 East, Sgt. Jim Hill said.

The incident happened on a day when the city's force was short-staffed as many officers attended a funeral for a fallen officer. Rickards said assistance from the County Sheriff's Office was vital for the undermanned department.

"This was one heck of an example of interagency cooperation," Rickards said.

Court documents indicate the man had previously been convicted of felony burglary charges in 1996. He now faces numerous felony charges in addition to violating his parole, Rickards said.

E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com