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WEST VALLEY CITY — A man accused of ramming three cars, including two police vehicles, and leading officers on a low-speed chase was arrested Wednesday.
The wild series of events began in Salt Lake City just after 7 a.m. after a man had his car stolen. The man used his car’s GPS to track its location and called police.
When an officer approached the stolen vehicle, the driver rammed the officer’s vehicle and sped away, said Salt Lake police detective Michael Ruff.
Due to public safety concerns, Salt Lake police did not chase the vehicle. However, officers continued to monitor its location using GPS.
A West Valley police officer spotted the stolen car and Hector Fernando de la Rosa, 21, about 7:35 a.m. at a gas station near 5600 West and 2450 South.
“I activated my patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and Hector saw me and rammed my vehicle twice in order to get past me and flee southbound on 5600 West,” the arresting officer wrote in a police affidavit.
The officer was still able to drive his patrol car and chased after the fleeing driver. When de la Rosa entered a residential area near 4100 South, the officer called off the chase, said West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku.
By that time however, numerous officers, some in unmarked patrol cars, were in the area, she said.
Police continued to keep track of the stolen car, and when it was safe, made their move and spiked two of the car’s tires, according to Vainuku. Even with the damage, de la Rosa kept driving, however, until he was driving on two rims, police said.
“Hector was found multiple times throughout the same area and was reengaged in a pursuit, with lights and sirens. Hector rammed a UPD police vehicle in an attempt to flee. The vehicle was later spiked by officers several times,” the affidavit states.
When de la Rosa went into a residential area again, he hit a parked car before driving into a cul-de-sac, said Vainuku. He attempted to escape by ramming the same West Valley patrol car for a second time, she said.
It was at that time that the remaining two tires on the fleeing car were spiked, Vainuku said.
“The vehicle was driving in and out of traffic and was on all four rims, but did not stop for officers,” the affidavit states.
As the slow-speed chase continued to 4100 South and 5600 West, an officer performed a PIT maneuver to bring the stolen car to a stop about 8:15 a.m.
“Hector was held at gunpoint and ordered to get out of the vehicle, but he ran out of the vehicle and continued eastbound through a bank parking lot,” the affidavit states.
When the arresting officer tackled de la Rosa to the ground, he continued to resist and threw a punch at the officer before finally being handcuffed, according to the affidavit. Inside the vehicle police found a gun.
He was arrested for investigation of four counts of assault on a police officer, three counts of failing to stop at the command of an officer, theft by receiving stolen property, being a restricted person in possession of a weapon, and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
A year ago, de la Rosa was convicted on an amended charge of attempted theft by receiving stolen property, and failing to stop at the command of police in another, and he was sentenced to probation, according to court records. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 13 for failing to comply with the conditions of his probation.