CEDAR CITY – An attempted carjacking in Cedar City Thursday morning resulted in a chase up and down Interstate 15, followed by a foot pursuit, which ended when police subdued the suspect with a stun gun.
Around 10:25 a.m., Cedar City Police officers responded to the report of an attempted carjacking at the Shell gas station at 1355 S. Main St.
Prior to the officers’ arrival, a man had been filling up his car with gas when the suspect, alter identified as Dennis Ruiz, of St. Paul, Missouri, approached him and demanded the keys to his car, Cedar City Police Sgt. Jerry Womack said.
When the man refused to give Ruiz his keys, Ruiz is alleged to have grabbed the gas nozzle and produced a lighter and flicked it while threatening to spray the man with gasoline and light him on fire.
Ruiz then got into the man’s car, with the man going in after him through the open driver’s side window, Womack said.
During the struggle, Ruiz got out of the car and sprayed the man with gasoline.
Ruiz then filled his own vehicle with gas from the same pump the man he threatened had been using, and using the man’s credit card to pay for it. He then drove away, Womack said.
The man who was threatened gave police a description of Ruiz, his vehicle and the direction he went.
An “attempt to locate” call was broadcast immediately by police, which resulted in Ruiz’s vehicle being located on northbound I-15 by a Parowan Police officer.
Ruiz took police on a chase up northbound I-15 and then down the southbound side, Womack said, adding the fastest the pursuit got was maybe 83 mph. Still, with Ruiz refusing to stop, the Utah Highway Patrol set spikes in his path, damaging his tires.
Ruiz drove a couple more miles before stopping and attempting to flee on foot, Womach said. The foot chase didn’t last long, as officers used a stun gun to bring the pursuit to an end.
“The suspect was safely taken into custody and is currently at the hospital being evaluated as is procedure,” the Cedar City Police said in a press release Thursday afternoon.
Ruiz was booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility and faces felony charges related to aggravated robbery and evading, as well as misdemeanor charges for resisting arrest and crossing a barrier/divider on the freeway.
Agencies involved in the incident were the Cedar City Police, Enoch City Police, Parowan Police, Iron County Sheriff’s Officer, Gold Cross Ambulance and Utah Highway Patrol.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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