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Samantha Hayes ReportingA carjacking this evening in Salt Lake City ended with four wrecked cars, a man in jail, and some very scared children. And police say it all could have been prevented if a familiar warning had been followed.
It all started at the Compos Market on 8th South and 9th West. Police say the suspect eyed a, SUV in the parking lot. The driver was in the store, but left the vehicle running with children inside.
Before taking off in this blue Blazer, police say Juan Lara saw children inside.
Lt. Robert Linton, Salt Lake City Police Dept.: “The suspect then jumped in the vehicle and told the oldest sibling to take everybody out or he’d take them with him.”
The 15-year old pulled his brother and sister out just in time. The suspect backed into another car, then fled north on 9th west where he hit two more parked vehicles; one was Charles Eckhardt's truck.
Charles Eckhardt: “Stood right here on the lawn and looked at me and got smart alecky with me. And I told him to plant it right there and he took off running across the street.” Accident Victim
At that point police were on the scene.
Lt. Robert Linton: “Officers gave chase and were able to catch him quite rapidly."
No one was injured, but police say that's partly because the oldest boy in the SUV was able to get his siblings out quickly and safely. Officers are quick to point out drivers should never leave the car running.
Lt. Robert Linton: “Even if you have somebody in the car, just shows us it doesn't matter if you have passengers, if the car is running, someone is willing to take it."
The suspect is in custody tonight facing charges that include carjacking, hit and run, and interfering with police. Police say the man was under the influence of some kind of drug when they caught him.