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Wanted fugitive captured with use of tire spikes, K-9s, Taser


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MURRAY — A dangerous fugitive who made a daring escape from Farmington police several weeks ago is in police custody this morning after leading officers on a wild chase.

Police say the suspect, Joseph Lee Chatwin, 40, did everything he could to escape from police this morning, including attempting to carjack a woman. But in the end officers used tire spikes, a stun gun and a police dog to take him into custody.

"I am extremely relieved that he is off the streets," said Jim Phelps of the U.S. Marshals Office and a member of the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team.

Law enforcers have been looking for Chatwin since July 17 when he escaped from police custody. Chatwin and Shauntae Leah Stratton, 23, had just been arrested and were being placed into a holding cell at the Farmington Police Department.

But while Stratton was being placed in a cell, officers said Chatwin kicked out a rear passenger window of the police car he was in, crawled out and ran. Stratton was also able to escape a short time later by apparently picking the lock of the holding cell. She was recaptured a short time later. Both were wanted for investigation of numerous car burglaries and thefts.


"Not only did we spike his vehicle but we ended up tasing him as he reached for a gun, and he was bit by the K-9." –Jim Phelps, U.S. Marshals Office

For weeks JCAT has been watching specific homes in Salt Lake County in an effort to find him. Wednesday night he showed up at a house in Sandy then left.

"When the vehicle left, we attempted to stop it and used spikes at that time," Phelps explained. "One of the tires was hit and went out, but he continued to flee from our officers."

Chatwin drove from Sandy to Murray where police once again set up spikes. This time two more tires were blown, but Chatwin tried to continue driving on the tire rims.

"Even after that, once the car was completely disabled, sparks flying, he bailed out and immediately went over to a lady that was stopped at a red light and tried to get into her car," Phelps said.

JCAT officers jumped on top of Chatwin as he tried to steal the woman's car at the intersection of 4900 South and State Street. As Chatwin reached for a gun, an officer used a stun gun on him. Officers also released a police dog, which bit Chatwin.

Because the would-be carjacking victim was nearby, officers did not use their guns, Phelps said.

A member of JCAT was also accidentally bitten by the police K-9 during the chaotic situation.

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When police searched the stolen car Chatwin was driving, they found a significant amount of meth inside. He now potentially faces several new charges including drug possession, possession of a firearm, fleeing, assault on a police officer and armed carjacking.

"You have everything here tonight," Phelps said. "I mean, this was an extremely dangerous guy. Guns, drugs, stolen vehicles, fleeing from police. We are very fortunate all of our officers were able to maintain control of the situation."

Chatwin was taken to a local hospital to be treated for the dog bite. Phelps said law enforcers weren't taking any chances this time and used extra restraints on Chatwin to prevent him from kicking out another car window and running.

He was then sent straight to the Utah State Prison on a parole violation. The woman in the car did not run once the car was stopped. She was questioned and released, Phelps said.

Phelps said he would also likely face a long list of new charges, including assault on an officer and armed carjacking. Investigators said they also found methamphetamine inside his stolen vehicle.

Chatwin has an extensive criminal history, according to Utah court records, including convictions for attempted aggravated assault, theft and forgery.

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