Officials with the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force arrested a Salt Lake City man after a traffic stop led to a manhunt.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, officers were patrolling the area of S. Freedom Street in Provo on Tuesday when a red passenger vehicle was observed in the parking lot of a convenience store.
Authorities conducted a records check on the vehicle and found several warrants belonging to a female registered to have been in connection with the vehicle. Using the photograph of the woman connected to the warrants and registration, officials located the woman and watched her enter the vehicle and begin to drive away.
Officers, with the knowledge that the woman’s license was suspended, conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, according to arrest documents. After making contact and while speaking with the woman, authorities began speaking with the male passenger.
The man and the woman allegedly refused to give police the passenger’s name, and while police were placing the woman into custody, the arresting officer reported hearing several police officers yelling “stop” and announcing that the man was fleeing.
According to the probable cause affidavit, police watched as the man got into the driver’s seat and took off in the vehicle at a high rate of speed, forcing a Provo City Police officer to quickly move out of the way to avoid being hit by the vehicle.
Detectives did not initially pursue the man as the female was already in custody. The woman identified the man as 26-year-old Kenneth Ralph Wright of North Salt Lake.
Records checks indicated Wright had several outstanding, felony, no-bail warrants for his arrest.
At the time of his arrest, Wright was allegedly a probation fugitive for aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, failure to stop for police, weapons charges and drug charges.
“He has shown by his behavior of evading two separate police agencies that he is a danger to the public,” according to the probable cause statement.
The woman told police she did not give him permission to steal the vehicle, and the vehicle’s owner was contacted and requested that Wright be charged with vehicle theft, adding that he was not supposed to be in the vehicle, according to arrest documents.
After about 30 minutes, Lehi police located the vehicle, which was evading officials in Lehi. After the vehicle crashed, Wright was taken into custody.
While he was being transported to the Utah County Jail, Wright allegedly said he had been drinking and using opiates. A blood and urine draw was collected and initial analysis showed that Wright’s urine indicated positive for the presence of THC, methamphetamine, amphetamine and opiates.
Wright was taken into custody under the suspicion of second-degree felony theft of an operable vehicle, two class A misdemeanors for possession of a controlled substance, class A misdemeanor failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, class B misdemeanor failure to disclose identity, class B misdemeanor driving with measurable controlled substance, and class C misdemeanor driving on a denied license.