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SALT LAKE CITY — A man who allegedly hit two police cars Wednesday morning walked away from St. Marks hospital that evening, officials said.
Unified police confronted David Garcia, 34, in Millcreek Canyon around 10:30 a.m. about vehicle burglaries, Unified police Lt. Lex Bell said.
Garcia then allegedly rammed into two officers' patrol cars, and police tried to spike the vehicle, but he fled on foot. The officers were uninjured.
Police later found Garcia in a window well and arrested him. They then took him to the hospital after he claimed he swallowed a bunch of drugs, Bell said.
Garcia was in custody at the hospital but left his room somehow and was not there when officers came to get him, Bell said.
Bell said when suspects are at hospitals, violent offenders will be monitored by a patrol, but this was not a violent offense.
Police had released him from custody during the time he underwent medical treatments, and the hospital is supposed to call when the treatment is finished, Bell said.
Hospital personnel discovered he was missing after 5 p.m. when they were supposed to call. St. Mark's Hospital employees checked the surveillance and determined Garcia had been gone much longer than they thought.
Bell said police were notified around 5:10 but think he left at least 45 minutes earlier.
St. Mark's Hospital released the following statement:
"Per hospital policy, two police officers must remain with any patient who is brought to the hospital in police custody. When not in police custody, patients who are a risk of harm to themselves or others have clinical 'sitters' who remain with them at all times. If there is an issue with a patient who is being monitored by a sitter, hospital security personnel are called to assist and support until the situation de-escalates."
Bell said Garcia is not armed, but had a gun in the car with him earlier and has multiple warrants adding up to $75,000.
Garcia was wearing dark plaid or blue jean shorts and a white shirt.