WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A routine traffic stop Wednesday afternoon sent West Valley City Police on a high-speed chase for a wanted felon.
According to authorities, Uriel Espinoza, 23, who is wanted for aggravated assault and drugs, fled from an officer who was attempting to pull him over near 4400 West 4700 South.
“A beat officer was just trying to make a stop on a vehicle on a registration violation,” said Lt. Ken Stokes of the West Valley City Police Department.
Stokes said Espinoza continued driving, and when other officers began to pursue him, the suspect picked up speed along State Road 201.
“He ended up crashing through a fence near the CR England Company,” Stokes said.
Espinoza then took off on foot, according to Stokes, and made his way over to a cab driver parked nearby.
“He was like intense. I can’t explain it. I’ve never seen anybody like that,” said Luis Barillas, a driver for Real Lake Taxi.
Barillas was sitting in the car, waiting for customers, when he said Espinoza opened the passenger side door and jumped in the cab.
“I looked back and he started pushing me and it happened so fast, and as soon as I look back he either punched me or push punched me,” Barillas said. “It happened in seconds.”
Espinoza then drove off, according to police, and led officers to Shadowbrook Apartments at 3860 South Redwood Rd.
“It’s where he crashed into a delivery man and ran into the complex,” Stokes said. “And so, we contained the area and locked it down.”
Authorities found no sign of Espinoza inside of the apartments. Inside his abandoned vehicle, officials said they recovered a handgun.
Police said Espinoza was already wanted on felony warrants for assault and drug distribution and he should be considered dangerous.
Anyone with information on Espinoza's whereabouts is asked to contact West Valley City police detectives at (801) 840-4000