OGDEN, Utah — Police in Ogden addressed reporters after a high speed chase ended with a dead suspect and three injured officers.
Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt says James L. Franklin, 20, died as the likely result of a crash in the chase. His body is with the medical examiner for an autopsy.
Investigators say an officer spotted Franklin driving near the 2600 block of Monroe Boulevard without a seatbelt. During the traffic stop, Franklin reportedly admitted the licenses plates on his car were supposed to be on a different vehicle. Upon further investigation, the officer learned Franklin’s car didn’t have a valid registration.
Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt says, “The officer made a decision that he was going to impound that vehicle.”
Franklin allegedly wouldn’t let that happen. Watt says Franklin argued with the officer and put on his seatbelt.
“The officer decided to remove him from the vehicle. So, the officer reached in to unlatch the seatbelt Mr. Franklin had put on. Mr. Franklin trapped his arm and started the vehicle, drove off holding onto the officer and dragging the officer alongside the vehicle,” Watt says. “The officer was able to get his feet up and grab hold of the steering wheel which caused the vehicle to swerve quite a bit, into oncoming traffic.”
The officer hung on for roughly a block and a half, according to Watt, but was knocked free after Franklin reportedly hit a curb.
Watt says, “The officer, fortunately, was close to a grass strip and he landed on that grass strip.”
Meanwhile, other officers who were listening to the radio scanner tried to assist. Watt says one of the patrol cars heading westbound on Sullivan stopped in front of Franklin, assuming the first officer was still hanging on.
“Mr. Franklin appeared to lose control of the vehicle and struck at significant speed.”
According to Watt, police officers on scene tried to provide medical assistance including CPR to Franklin, to no avail. In all, three officers were hurt — the officer dragged on Monroe Boulevard and two officers in the police car that was struck. All three were taken to a nearby hospital.
The driver of another car struck in the chase also sustained injuries, but was treated on the scene.
The Utah Highway Patrol will oversee the investigation.
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