Officers arrest man suspected of striking 2 police cars

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MILLCREEK — A Taylorsville man was arrested Sunday after police say he struck two police cars in an escape from officers last week.

Harley Gregory Welsh, 39, was arrested following a low-speed vehicle pursuit from near a South Salt Lake hotel to 3900 S. West Temple. Welsh attempted to escape on foot at the end of the chase but was brought to the ground by a K-9 officer, said Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke.

Welsh was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of receiving a stolen vehicle, failure to stop at the command of police, interference with an arresting officer and violation of parole or probation.

Welsh allegedly hit two police cars with a stolen car Tuesday after officers had boxed him in near 4932 S. Howick St. (210 West).

Officers had surrounded Welsh after spotting him sleeping in a stolen Chevrolet Malibu, but after he woke up, he was able to escape when he backed into one police vehicle and made contact with another while pulling forward, police said.

The two police cars sustained minor damage, and no officers were injured, Lohrke said.

"But there were officers outside their vehicles, which was very risky to them," the lieutenant said Sunday. "Somebody that is willing to ram police cars to evade arrest is someone we consider very dangerous, so (for) that fact alone, we put him high on our priority list to catch. … If he's known to use that type of violence against the police officers, what is he going to do against the rest of the public?"

Officers had been searching for Welsh for days after police say he abandoned the stolen car he escaped in and got into an idling Ford Excursion in the parking lot of Cottonwood Motors, 50 E. Central Ave. He was first found Saturday by Unified's Metro Gang Unit.

Lohrke was unsure of whether Welsh had gang connections, saying the gang unit can be used generally to help find suspects who are hard to track down.

Court records show Welsh has a large criminal record, with a history of charges of assault, and drug and theft-related offenses.


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