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Psychiatric patient leads police in slow-speed chase

A man who walked out of a hospital led Murray police on a slow-speed chase in a large forklift-type vehicle Wednesday before he was stopped and arrested.

The man was at Cottonwood Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation when walked out of the building.

"We don't know how he got there," said Murray police detective Rob Hall.

The man walked to a neighborhood near 400 East and 5700 South where he found a "large piece of construction equipment," Hall said. The keys were in it.

The man started the forklift and drove off. Residents who saw the man driving around called police.

When arriving officers attempted to get the man to pull over, he refused, Hall said.

The chase reached speeds of 25 mph and had lasted 10 to 12 minutes when the man pulled into the parking lot of the Red Cross near 900 East and 6600 South.

At that point, pursuing officers were able to surround the forklift in their patrol cars, Hall said. The man stopped his machine but then refused to exit, Hall said, forcing officers to break a window and pull him out. Other than the broken window, Hall said there was no property damage.

The man was arrested for investigation of several felonies. He was taken to a psychiatric ward where he will be evaluated sometime in the next few days. Hall said the city intends to file formal felony charges regardless of the evaluation's outcome.

"He's in a secure facility for the time being," Hall said. "At least we hope it is secure."


E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com