Sheriff’s Office captures suspect in high-speed pursuit
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon arrested a suspect in a February high-speed pursuit, describing the man’s capture as being the result of solid police work.
The man confessed he was the driver after he was taken into custody, the Sheriff’s Office said in a prepared statement. Jason Timothy Bennett is 37 years old and is a transient, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
He faces three charges:
The third-degree felonies are the most serious, punishable by up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.
Bennett remained in the Summit County jail Friday morning. Bail is set at $15,625.
Justin Martinez, a captain in the Sheriff’s Office, said Bennett has an extensive criminal history. He called him a "very dangerous and reckless type of person."
"We definitely want to get that type of criminal element off the streets," Martinez said.
The pursuit in February, which unfolded during the morning commute and was seen by numerous drivers, stretched through the West Side of Summit County after starting when a deputy saw a vehicle passing another driver on the shoulder of the road on eastbound Interstate 80. The driver did not stop when the deputy attempted to pull the vehicle over.
The driver reached speeds of approximately 95 mph during the pursuit. The route included streets in Park City and outside the city limits. The driver eventually exited Summit County on Interstate 80 westbound, toward Salt Lake City. The pursuit was terminated in Salt Lake City. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Salt Lake City.
Martinez said investigators gathered evidence from the vehicle when it was found. The evidence resulted in the Sheriff’s Office obtaining video surveillance of the suspect from a business in Salt Lake City, he said.
A Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, John Lange, went to Salt Lake City on Wednesday afternoon to look into leads in the case. Martinez said as the lieutenant was in the vicinity of where the vehicle was found abandoned he saw a pedestrian fitting the description of the suspect.
Lange, who was wearing civilian clothes, identified himself as a police officer and spoke to the man. The Sheriff’s Office said the conversation led Lange to determine the man was the suspect. He was arrested without incident and brought to the Summit County Jail. The arrest occurred in an area south of downtown.
The Sheriff’s Office statement indicated Bennett told investigators he fled because he was worried about being found in a stolen vehicle.
"Bennett said he stole the vehicle because he was sick of walking around in the cold weather," the statement says.
The Sheriff’s Office said Bennett has been to prison previously for felonies like burglary.
The duties this year include planting landscaping between the sidewalk and private property lines, concrete work on sidewalks, concrete fixes and restriping the street.