SALT LAKE CITY — Police arrested a man who they say rammed a police car and tried to run over an officer while fleeing Thursday morning, police said.
About 2 a.m., officers were looking for a man in an unrelated case in the area of 1990 South and 200 East, according to Salt Lake police detective Robert Ungricht. While searching, officers noticed a man and woman get into an SUV with stolen license plates nearby and tried to talk to the driver, who was later identified as Valentine James Malaki, 25, Ungricht said.
Instead, Malaki put the SUV in reverse and rammed a police car "to get it out of the way," according to Salt Lake Police Lt. Dave Cracroft, then swerved to try to hit an officer.
The SUV fled as police pursued it for approximately 10 minutes before it pulled into the Park Place Apartments at 751 S. 300 East, where Malaki ran into an apartment. Officers located the woman in the SUV trying to walk out of the apartment complex. She later identified Malaki as the driver, according to police.
Officers were able to connect the SUV to an apartment at the complex, but the occupants would not open the door, police said. Investigators got a search warrant and called in SWAT to execute it. They arrested Malaki in the apartment without incident, Ungricht said.
Malaki was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault on a police officer, fleeing, reckless driving, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, possession of stolen property and numerous previous warrants.
The Deseret News reports Malaki is a documented gang member.