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July 30, 2021

Officer fired at truck before driver accelerated toward deputy, police say

NEWCASTLE — A man was arrested in southern Utah after police fired at his truck in an attempt to prevent him from getting away, just moments before the man allegedly tried to run over a deputy.

The incident began Thursday when a truck loaded with “large spools of wire” was spotted by an Iron County sheriff’s deputy driving on state Route 56 near the unincorporated town of Newcastle, west of Cedar City.

“Knowing wire and metal are frequently stolen in that area, the deputy turned his patrol vehicle around. The vehicle turned north off of the highway onto a dirt road, and a short time later he witnessed the vehicle crossing state Route 56 southbound in the same spot,” according to a police affidavit.

The truck drove through a neighborhood at a high rate of speed. Deputies set up a containment, knowing there were only a limited number of ways out of the neighborhood.

A sheriff’s office helicopter was also called to the scene and spotted the vehicle. As deputies moved in, one got behind the truck and another approached from ahead of him, both with their emergency lights on, according to the affidavit.

“The driver, later identified as Christopher Parker, turned onto another paved road up a hill. He drove onto a dirt road over the hilltop, where he shortly was surrounded by officers,” police wrote in the affidavit.

Several deputies got out of their vehicles and approached the truck. Initially, Parker complied with officers and raised his hands, but then placed his hands back on the steering wheel, prompting a sergeant to fire “one round into the front left tire of the vehicle in an attempt to end the pursuit,” the affidavit says.

Parker then put his vehicle in reverse and accelerated toward a deputy who had to move out of the way to avoid being hit, according to the affidavit.

Police then chased Parker “over many miles breaking through multiple fences and driving through private fields,” the report states. Parker eventually stopped but refused to come out of his truck, and was “forcibly removed from the vehicle and taken into custody.”

Parker, 49, was booked into the Iron County Jail and charged Friday in 5th District Court with assault on a police officer, a second-degree felony; failing to stop at the command of police, a third-degree felony; criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.

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