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MILLCREEK – A man was arrested on Tuesday after police say he led officers in pursuit of a stolen truck and kept trying to get away until the vehicle is engulfed in flames.
The owner of the stolen truck was at the scene of the fire and the arrest and filmed it all on a cellphone. He had been trying to catch the thief since Sunday.
Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, an officer spotted a stolen Ford F-350 carrying a stolen trailer near 2700 South and 700 East. As the officer attempted to park the vehicle, the driver sped up, ran a red light “and rolled several times into oncoming traffic,” according to a police affidavit.
Police stopped pursuing the truck due to public safety concerns as it headed south toward Midvale.
Once in Midvale, officers in unmarked patrol cars again spotted the vehicle and followed it, according to Unified Police. Near 11400 S. Redwood Road, officers successfully deployed tire studs around 10:20 p.m.
The truck continued to leak, however, and the unified police Sgt. Melody Cutler said officers chasing him could see his tires were “separating”. By the time it reached the Daybreak area, only the rims remained.
“Vehicle continued to leak and crashed at approximately 4775 W. Daybreak Parkway. Subject continued to attempt to flee after vehicle crashed, revving engine and spinning what was left of the tires and rims. In doing so, the driver’s rear tire caught fire and eventually set the vehicle on fire,” the affidavit states.
Josh Minson, the owner of the truck, was following the pursuit on police scanners.
“They’re like, it’s sparking, it’s swallowed up now. I listen to the police scanner and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? Minson told KSL-TV.
“Subject looked out the window several times, watched the fire, and continued to run the engine and try to flee,” the affidavit continues. “Subject did not exit the vehicle until the fire entered the pickup truck cab.”
“So this guy’s been in my truck for over 20 minutes engulfed in flames, speeding up and trying to get away – watch out, my wheel was against the curb with no tire,” Minson said.
The driver, Trent Michael Kezior, 39, then tried to flee from officers but was pursued by a K-9 officer and seven officers, but he “continued to resist even with the number of officers trying to put him down. in custody,” according to the affidavit. He was arrested shortly before 10:40 p.m.
By then, Minson had caught up to his burning truck and had his cell phone camera close at hand. In the video “you see him in, like, a basketball move, and he’s like boom! This guy throws him down and then the cops tackle him,” Monson said.
A passenger who was also in the truck got out and immediately turned himself in, while stating “he was not an accomplice to the crime and that he wanted to get out of the vehicle but was unable to doing so because of the subject’s erratic conduct,” the affidavit reads.
Cutler said Kezior allegedly fled from police in the same vehicle, which was allegedly stolen from Riverton a few days ago. The trailer, which was stolen from Midvale, contained two motorcycles, she said. The bicycles were not damaged by the fire.
Kezior was incarcerated in the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation into an aggravated kidnapping, two counts of failing to stop for police, three counts of reckless endangerment, reckless burning, failure to stopping on the orders of an officer, six counts of interfering with a police arrest and two counts of harboring a stolen vehicle. Unified Police said multiple agencies in the south end of the valley assisted in the arrest and suppression of the blaze.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care about the truck. None of the officers were injured. None of the citizens were injured. There was no property damage anywhere,” Minson said. “Which, to me, is amazing.”
Kezior is due to hold a preliminary hearing in another case next month. In this case, he is charged in the 2nd district court with possession of a weapon by a person with restricted access and theft in possession, crimes in the second degree; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class B misdemeanor, according to court records.
In April, Kezior was charged in another case of theft while receiving stolen property for driving a stolen F-150 whose license plate was reported stolen from a second vehicle, according to charging documents, in addition to be charged with other crimes. Kezior’s co-defendant in the case was his passenger in the truck on Tuesday night, police say.
Contributor: Debbie Worthen, KSL-TV