WOODS CROSS, Utah (ABC4) – A man visiting Utah allegedly stole a car with a four-year-old girl in the back seat and drunkenly led police on a high-speed chase before crashing into an officer’s patrol car, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Michael Lee Freeman, 49, faces charges of Aggravated Kidnapping (First Degree Felony), Theft of a Firearm or Operable Vehicle (Second Degree Felony), Child Abuse with Injury – Intentional or Knowing (Class A Misdemeanor), Assault on Peace Officer/Military with Use of Dangerous Weapon (Second Degree Felony), Disorderly Conduct after Request to Stop (Class C Misdemeanor), in addition to multiple other charges relating to the high-speed chase.
On Saturday, October 29, Freeman was allegedly attending a Halloween party in Woods Cross and became “drunk to the point his behavior was inappropriate,” the affidavit states. A man who had attended the party reportedly told police that Freeman “continued this type of behavior long after being told to stop,” and concluded that it was necessary for Freeman to leave.
The man, accompanied by Freeman, reportedly exited the party with his wife and four-year-old granddaughter and buckled the child into her car seat in the back seat of his Chevy Silverado. As the man and his wife turned to say goodbye to the remainder of the party guests, Freeman allegedly got into the driver’s seat and backed the vehicle out of the driveway, with the girl still in the back seat, before speeding away from the address.
An officer with the Woods Cross Police Department responded to the incident, and while in the area, another officer found the stolen vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. Freeman reportedly fled and “accelerated very rapidly” towards the responding officer’s patrol car, as that officer was only a half-mile away.
According to the affidavit, Freeman was traveling at “extreme speeds” heading toward the officer, “swerving all over the road” before narrowly missing the patrol car.
Freeman reportedly continued to lead officers on a high-speed chase, driving through “several red traffic signals and around other motorists on the roadway,” according to the affidavit.
Police say the pursuit lasted 16 minutes and covered over nine miles before coming to an end in the air cargo terminal area of the Salt Lake City International Airport, when Freeman made a U-turn and crashed into a patrol car, coming to a stop. Freeman reportedly did not obey officers’ commands to exit the vehicle, but “eventually did exit the vehicle and was taken into custody,” the affidavit states.
Upon his arrest, Freeman allegedly smelled heavily of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech. Additionally, a records check of his driver’s license showed that it was revoked.
The man’s four-year-old granddaughter was brought home safely, the affidavit states, however the girl reportedly said that Freeman had “punched her in the chest for crying.”
Police say Freeman was traveling at speeds estimated to be “well above one hundred miles an hour,” and that it is believed Freeman was planning to head to California where “a girlfriend would let him stay.”