Off-duty officer stops high-speed chase, saves jogger

Posted at 8:52 PM, Dec 08, 2012

HOLLADAY, Utah - An off-duty police officer stopped a high-speed chase and may have saved a jogger's life on Saturday.

Unified Police say the off-duty officer heard about a high-speed chase with a Mercedes stolen earlier this week on his personal radio.

"On Wednesday afternoon, the suspect in this case had gone for a test drive in this Mercedes. He left the dealership at about 40th and State Street with the owner of the company. They went out did a test drive, returned to the dealership and as soon as the owner stepped out, the suspect gunned it and took off stealing the car from the dealership," said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

On Saturday, the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Derek Thompson, allegedly tried to use a bad credit card at Snowbird, then allegedly ran from an Alta marshal, down Little Cottonwood Canyon at a high speed. Police didn't chase him because of a fear of danger to the public, but Thompson didn't slow down.

"We had officers that were in the canyon and had observed this suspect coming down the canyon still driving very fast, very reckless and very aggressive," Hoyal said.

He knew the chase would likely be heading towards a narrow bridge near 2100 East and 6000 South in Holladay.

"He observes a jogger jogging eastbound on the road. Sensing the danger he pulls up alongside her tells her she has to get out of the road," Hoyal said.

The jogger, who doesn't want to be identified, says she was going across the bridge when she heard someone behind her yelling.

"I feel a presence behind me and I have earphones in so I hear someone kind of yelling at me to get off the street," she said. "Look over my shoulder and there's a red truck and a guy with his window rolled down and I'm kind of suspicious what he's doing especially on my side of the street."

The woman says at that point, they heard screeching tires and saw a grey car speeding down the street.

"So they looked up in the direction of the vehicle and then the vehicle appeared around the bend driving so fast that his back end had lost control and he was fishtailing coming right for them," Hoyal said.

The officer used his personal truck to ram the suspect's vehicle, which was traveling about 80 mph, just before it made it to the bridge and the woman.

"The suspect then crashed into his truck, then veered off into a little wooden fence like pathway along this bridge," Hoyal said.

Police say the officer's quick actions likely saved the jogger's life.

The suspect ran off but was struck with a stun gun shortly after and is now in prison.