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SANDY — A man on parole who said he didn't want to go back to prison was arrested early Wednesday after police say he rammed two patrol cars in an effort to avoid capture.
Casey Driggers Cooper, 35, a parolee from the Utah State Prison with a lengthy criminal record of mostly theft and burglary convictions, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Wednesday for investigation of two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of fleeing from police, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and trespassing.
The series of events began about 3:40 a.m. Wednesday when a Unified police officer responded to a report of trespassers at a construction site in Midvale, near 700 W. Bingham Junction Blvd. When the officer arrived, a Chevy Suburban fled the scene.
Another man, later identified as Cooper, ran to an F-150 pickup truck, jumped in and disobeyed the officer's commands to stop, according to a police booking affidavit.
"Instead, Cooper ran toward an F150, entered it, started it and fled through the parking lot in his vehicle. He took a wrong turn in the parking lot and had to turn around. He came at me head-on and rammed my patrol vehicle at approximately 10 mph," an officer wrote in the affidavit.
Cooper then put his truck in reverse and again moved forward, this time hitting the officer's patrol car head-on, going about 20 mph, the affidavit states. The collision "caused a significant amount of front-end damage to my patrol vehicle," the officer stated.
Cooper then led officers on a chase through Midvale, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy, before entering a park-and-ride lot near 9400 S. Highland Drive.
"He lost control of his vehicle after driving over a curb and onto a grassy area. His truck spun 180 degrees, and put him head-on with another pursuing officer. Casey then accelerated at a second officer, hitting into his patrol vehicle head-on, and causing significant damage to the patrol vehicle and putting a second police officer in significant danger of severe bodily injury," the affidavit states.
After the second patrol car was hit, other officers moved in and used their cars to pin Cooper in. Officers ordered him out of his vehicle and he was arrested. After being taken into custody, Cooper said he had been on parole for about 1 1/2 years and "didn't want to go back to prison," but knew if he was caught that's where he'd be going, the affidavit states.
Cooper said he has fled from police "many times," but noted that on Wednesday morning, officers "brought it," according to the affidavit.
"Casey exhibited no regard for human life, and rammed one officer multiple times to evade arrest, and a second officer once. He readily admitted to running from officers 'many times,'" the affidavit notes. "Casey obviously shows complete lack of regard for the safety of officers and those in the community while also being on parole."