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MAGNA — A two-county crime spree that allegedly involved multiple stolen vehicles and at least one carjacking ended with a wild police chase involving a large dump truck Friday morning.
Police belive the same man stole at least six vehicles in about two hours in Utah and Salt Lake counties.
The alleged crime spree began about 7:15 a.m. when police say Stephen White, 30, of Magna, broke into a state impound lot at Ken Garff Chevrolet, 221 S. 500 East, in American Fork, got into a Bronco that he owned that had been impounded, and drove it through the front gate, said American Fork Police Lt. Sam Liddiard.
"(He) had broken into the impound lot and stole his own vehicle out of the lot," he said.
From there, police believe White went to a home in Pleasant Grove, where he got into a domestic dispute with an undisclosed person, and then stole a second vehicle.
Pleasant Grove police who were already en route to the domestic dispute soon found themselves in a chase with White, who was driving a minivan, Liddiard said.
White drove back to American Fork and crashed the minivan in the parking lot of China Isle Restaurant, 323 S. 500 East, police said. White got out and ran behind several adjacent businesses along 500 East where he found a Deseret Industries employee sitting in his car, Liddiard said.
"He runs up to him and tells him to get out of the car," he said.
The man initially refused before "White grabs this employee and drags him out of the car," Liddiard said.
The car owner continued to fight White, who then pulled out a box cutter.
"Mr. White pulls a box cutter out of his pocket and swings it at him, slashes him across the chest with a box cutter, cuts through his jacket, two shirts, and (the employee) has a superficial wound across his chest down to his abdomen," Liddiard said.
At that point, the car owner stopped resisting and White took his car, according to police.
The car, which reportedly was very low on gas, was found abandoned at the nearby Value Place Motel in American Fork. White allegedly stole another car from there and drove it to Lehi where he abandoned that vehicle and took yet another vehicle that was left running outside a business, Liddiard said.
He refused to come out of the truck. He couldn't really go anywhere cause his tires were flat and he wasn't getting any traction. But he was able to put it in reverse, backed up and rammed one of our police cars. Went forward again, put it in reverse and rammed the car a second time. Fortunately, the officer is OK.
–Lt. Justin Hoyal, Unified Police
White is believed to have taken that car to Bluffdale, where he stole a large dump truck with a trailer attached.
By that time, all police agencies in Salt Lake and Utah counties had been notified to be on the lookout for White. Unified police spotted White on 8400 West near 4100 South about 9:30 a.m. and a chase ensued.
The chase got up to 60 mph when it went on to state Route 201. But it slowed to 20 mph when it went through neighborhoods in Magna, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.
Because of the size of the dump truck, it was impossible for police patrol cars to end the chase with a PIT manuever, Hoyal said. Officers from several agencies set up spikes to flatten the dump truck's tires at several locations, but White drove around many of them, Hoyal said.
Finally, the tire spikes were successful as the dump truck was on 8850 West, near 2700 South, reportedly near White's Magna home.
The chase came to an end near 9200 West and 2700 South, when both of the dump truck's front tires were flattened and policed boxed him in with their patrol cars.
"He refused to come out of the truck. He couldn't really go anywhere cause his tires were flat and he wasn't getting any traction. But he was able to put it in reverse, backed up and rammed one of our police cars. Went forward again, put it in reverse and rammed the car a second time. Fortunately, the officer is OK," Hoyal said.
Officers eventually fired a projectile through the driver's side window to break it open, followed by round of pepper balls and tear gas, Hoyal said. White then exited through the passenger door and ran about 50 yards onto an empty driver's ed course, where he was tackled by police. He continued to fight with officers until they got him in handcuffs, Hoyal said.
Police officers from several agencies were scheduled to meet to go over the numerous potential charges White could face, including investigation of aggravated assault, assault on a police officer and fleeing.
White was charged Tuesday in 4th District Court in a separate case with forgery and theft by deception. He was also charged with several misdemeanor crimes in February in Pleasant Grove Justice Court, including theft by deception, according to court records.
White's criminal background also includes convictions for DUI, attempting forging of a prescription, driving on a DUI suspended license, and attempted failure to remain at the scene of an accident, according to court records.