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Man with gun rammed RPD squad car

Apr 16, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A Pavillion man was arrested on multiple charges early Saturday after a reported attempt to run over a police vehicle with his truck.

Justin Whitt, 24, of Pavillion, was arrested for aggravated assault, resisting arrest, eluding police, reckless driving, hit-and-run, and open container as the result of an incident that began at about 2:20 a.m. Saturday on North Federal Boulevard.

According to reports, several Riverton Police Department officers were assisting with an ambulance call at Ace Hardware, 619 N. Federal Blvd., when they noticed a grey 2004 Chevy pickup headed toward Federal on Pershing Ave.

"(The vehicle stopped) at Pershing and Federal, turned right onto the 600 block of Federal and rapidly accelerated southbound," RPD Capt. Eric Murphy said. "One of our patrol officers jumped in his car and attempted to initiate a traffic stop, (but) the truck sped up to around 50-60 miles per hour."

The suspect vehicle turned right onto East Park Avenue, slid out of control, and came to rest on top of the curb and sidewalk at the intersection of Park and North Sixth Street East.

Murphy said an officer pulled up and parked about 15 feet behind the truck.

"(He) ran up there to try to make contact with the driver," Murphy said. "The driver put his truck in reverse and slammed into the police car."

The officer was not injured in the incident.

Murphy said the driver of the pickup truck -- later identified as Whitt -- drove from the scene but was located by other officers at the intersection of Pershing Avenue and North Broadway. They caught up to him on West Main Street, and Whitt pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 200 block of North Major Avenue.

Murphy said Whitt stopped the car and ran north. Soon after, the suspect was found lying in the back of a pickup truck in the 1500 block of West Park Avenue.

Officers searched his unattended vehicle, which was unlocked, and found an open bottle of whiskey on the driver's side floor board, along with a .45 caliber Taurus pistol in the front seat.