PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – A South Jordan Police officer was arrested on Friday after he allegedly kidnapped a family member on Thanksgiving Day.
According to arresting documents, officers booked Scott Elliott Russell into the Juab County Jail on multiple felonies after police responded to a call from the Utah Valley Hospital Emergency Room on Thursday.
Police spoke to someone who said they were being treated for injuries they received during an incident at the Sevier River Estates.
The alleged victim told police that, while attending a family dinner in Provo the night before, they had made arrangements to go for a ride with Scott Russell before dinner.
Probable cause documents state the alleged victim and Russell were traveling southbound on Intersate-15. The victim told police they started to worry when they asked to go home and Russell allegedly refused. According to the victim, Russell’s behavior became more irrational and paranoid, at one point, taking the victim’s phone and disabling it.
While traveling south on I-15, Russell turned off the freeway, for an unknown reason and entered an area known as the Sevier River Estates. Russell rolled the vehicle off an embankment at the river’s edge, documents state.
The victim said once they were both out of the car, Russell told them to lay face down on the ground, remove their shoes and any personal belongings. The victim said they knew Russell was a police officer and had a gun, so they complied with all the directives, documents state.
At one point, Russell called 911 from Sevier River Estates to report an accident with no injuries, but, at that time, law enforcement did not have any information of the alleged crimes.
With the vehicle undrivable, both of them started walking, and Russell allegedly threw away all the victim’s personal belongings, including their wallet.
Documents state Russell later removed his firearm from an ankle holster, along with the ammo and magazine, then tossed it over a fence into some sagebrush.
They kept walking until they came to an abandoned outbuilding for shelter. Russell allegedly told the victim to stay put as Russell walked to another outbuilding. After some time, the victim said they felt safe enough to walk towards I-15 and attempt to get help.
A driver passing by picked up the alleged victim, who later went to the hospital with help from a family member.
Law enforcement located the disabled vehicle at the Sevier River Estates where they found two sets of footprints walking away from the scene. While tracking the footprints, law enforcement found the personal property belonging to the victim and a pair of black shoes, along with an ankle holster, 40mm ammo, a Glock 27 firearm and a magazine.
The footprints also guided officers to an unoccupied building, where they found belongings they believed were Russell’s.
A deputy later found Russell at the building as well.
Arresting documents indicate they believed Russell would constitute a substantial danger to any other individual or to the community due to the fact he is an “active Law Enforcement Officer with a nearby agency. Assumedly, he may have access to other firearms. He imposes a threat to others and/or himself.”
ABC4 News learned Russell was an active Senior South Jordan Police officer at the time of the incident.
He faces charges of first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and third-degree felony aggravated assault as well as misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing, burglary, reckless endangerment, and interruption of a communication device.
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