Man accused of stealing patrol car, leading police on high-speed chase in their own cruiser

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jul 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-28 17:50:25-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – An 18-year-old man is facing numerous charges after he allegedly climbed from the back of a police car to the driver’s seat, sped off and led police on a high-speed chase in their own vehicle.

The incident started Saturday morning when Hilldale officers pulled over a white truck with six people inside.

Authorities said when the truck’s driver saw the police car, he sped off and that’s when officers followed and stopped the truck.

Officers detained one of the passengers, James D. Bateman, who they said tested to have an alcohol level over the legal limit.

Police tested the others in the truck and were taking the driver into custody when they said Bateman grabbed at one of the officer’s gun belts and then ran from the scene.

Officers called for backup and were briefing the sergeant when another one of the passengers ran and the sergeant ran after her.

The sergeant didn’t find the woman but he did find Bateman who was then restrained with zip ties and ankle shackles.

Bateman complained the zip ties were hurting his wrists so officers put handcuffs on him instead and secured his hands in the front this time.

Moments later they heard the patrol car horn.

I started walking toward my patrol car when it started driving away into oncoming traffic and swerved onto the sidewalk,” the arresting officer said in the statement. “There were several bystanders on the sidewalk that had to jump out of the way of the car to avoid being run over by James.”

According to the St. George News, Bateman sped off in the patrol car going 100 mph in a 35 mph zone and officers followed south on State Route 59.

The chase ended when Bateman decided to pull off the side of the road on SR-389 near mile marker 27.5 where he was taken into custody and then booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

He has been charged with second-degree felony theft; three third-degree felonies for escaping from custody, aggravated assault and failing to stop at the command of police; a class A misdemeanor for failing to stop at the command of law enforcement; five class B misdemeanors for driving under the influence of alcohol, alcohol restricted driver, possession of drug paraphernalia and minor consumption of alcohol; a class C misdemeanor for open container in vehicle; and an infraction for not having a valid driver’s license.

Bateman is being held on a $35,520 bail and is due in court Aug. 3.

Officers said they found alcohol and drug paraphernalia in the truck.

More: Get the latest from the St. George News here.