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2 in custody after suspect’s wife helps him escape from back of police car

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-05 18:56:15-05

SALT LAKE CITY – A man and wife were arrested after one of them released the other from the back of the police vehicle he had been placed inside after being arrested on suspicion of drug possession.

According to statements of probable cause from Salt Lake City police, 39-year-old Jeremy Ray Koller was arrested Wednesday in the area of 511 West and 200 South after officers observed him placing a “balloon” containing narcotics in his mouth.

Police approached Koller, who then pushed the officer away and spat the balloon over a nearby fence. The suspect continued to resist arrest, according to a PC statement, but he was eventually handcuffed after a citizen assisted the officer, and the suspect was then placed into the back seat of a patrol car. The “balloon” was recovered and was found to contain heroin.

A large crowd gathered at the site of the arrest, and as police were dealing with the crowd 44-year-old Charity Smith-Block allegedly opened the door to the police vehicle, allowing Koller to flee on foot. Koller ran while still handcuffed and was recaptured after a short pursuit. Police identified the pair as a married couple.

The statement indicates Smith-Block also fled despite being told to stop by police. The woman made it to a vehicle and began to drive away. She was stopped later after citizens at the nearby Road Home shelter helped police find the suspect. The officer found drug paraphernalia that included syringes and burnt spoon in a purse next to the suspect. Police stated the woman was driving on a suspended driver’s license and had a stolen license plate on the vehicle she was driving.

Koller was booked into jail for possession of heroin, resisting arrest, escape by prisoner, fleeing and for several existing warrants. Smith-Block was booked for aiding in the escape of a prisoner, possession of stolen property and several warrants. She also faces charges for possession of drug paraphernalia, a charge which is enhanced as it occurred near a drug-free zone.