Police officer injured after being struck by carjacking suspect

SANTA CLARA — A Santa Clara/Ivins Police officer was transported to the hospital after being struck by a suspect who fled the scene of a crash in a hijacked vehicle.

Debris field left behind a motorcycle crash on Santa Clara Drive, Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 1, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly before 11 a.m., emergency personnel were dispatched to the 2800 block of Santa Clara Avenue after receiving reports that an officer was injured after being struck by a suspect’s vehicle while they were attempting to flee from police.

Paramedics arrived and transported the officer to Dixie Regional Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, Santa Clara/Ivins Police Sgt. Jaron Studley said.

The incident began earlier when a motorcycle was stolen in St. George and later spotted by a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy heading east on Old Highway 91. The officer initiated a pursuit to stop the bike, and was soon joined by a Santa Clara/Ivins Police officer. The chase was terminated about a mile later since continuing the pursuit could have placed the public at risk.

The suspect continued east until he failed to negotiate a curve and crashed the motorcycle into the front yard of a residence across the street from Frei’s Fruit Market, leaving a field of debris scattered across the lawn. The suspect jumped up and started running east toward Santa Clara View Drive where he jumped in a Toyota after ordering the driver out of the car.

Multiple agencies respond to assist when a suspect strikes an officer while fleeing in Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 1, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Meanwhile, the deputy and the officer caught up to the suspect and ordered him out of the Toyota at gunpoint, but instead of complying the suspect accelerated and struck the officer as he sped away, knocking him to the ground.

Additional officers were called to assist along with an ambulance which arrived minutes later to transport the injured officer to the hospital.

As police continued scouring the area, an officer found the Toyota abandoned and still idling on a side street in St. George.

In the meantime, St. George Police detectives arrived at the scene of the motorcycle crash to speak with the officers, St. George Police Lt. Hartman told St. George News.

Allegedly stolen motorcycle crashes into front yard of a residence on Santa Clara Drive, Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 1, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Hartman went on to say the investigation was being handled by the Santa Clara/Ivins Police Department since the crash occurred there.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers also responded to assist in the investigation since it was a police officer who was struck by the suspect. One of the troopers remained at the hospital with the injured officer while the scene was processed for evidence.

Studley said a cell phone, helmet, gloves and other items were collected and DNA swabs were taken at the scene.

“We have a pretty good idea who he is,” Studley said.

The suspect was still at large at the writing of this report.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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