Dentist arrested in stabbing after wild ride on SUV

Man's wife and victim were inside vehicle

Published: Friday, Nov. 7 2003 12:00 a.m. MST

SOUTH JORDAN — A Salt Lake Valley dentist was arrested Thursday night in connection with a bizarre melee that started with a stabbing and ended with the man being arrested after riding on the hood of an SUV with his wife and the victim inside the moving vehicle.

Calvin Zettlen, 33, was airlifted to LDS Hospital with multiple stab wounds, including a laceration on his thigh. He was listed in satisfactory condition late Thursday night, hospital spokesman Jess Gomez said.

Police booked Benjamin Gilstrap, 51, into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted criminal homicide. Gilstrap's wife, Stephanie Gilstrap, 43, was still being interviewed by police Thursday night, along with the couple's two sons, ages 8 and 11.

Police planned to serve a search warrant on the couple's South Jordan residence, 1449 W. Jordan Hills Drive (11500-11515 South), where the stabbing occurred.

"The scene is quite a mess," South Jordan Assistant Police Chief Dan Pearson said. "There's blood all over the street, on porches and sidewalks."

Police did not indicate an exact motive for the stabbing but say the incident started when Benjamin Gilstrap came home to find Zettlen there with his wife.

Zettlen was stabbed multiple times with a hunting knife during the altercation, which eventually spilled out into the street where neighbors witnessed the incident, Pearson said.

Terri Holfeltz was backing out of her driveway to go shopping when a bloodied Zettlen pounded on her car window.

"He said, 'Call 911, this guy's trying to kill me,' " Holfeltz recalled.

Holfeltz then saw Zettlen being pursued by a man, woman and boy.

"The guy was trying to get away, but he wasn't running, he was walking around," Holfeltz said.

Worried that she may be targeted, Holfeltz drove down the street and told her neighbors to call police.

Beth Anopol saw the altercation unfold as she drove home past the Gilstrap residence Thursday afternoon.

"They just kept fighting out into the street," Anopol said.

The couple's 11-year-old son was also outside witnessing the melee.

"He was just yelling, 'Stop, Dad, stop.' He'd grab his dad's arm," Anopol said. "I almost felt helpless because I didn't know if I should get out and help the boy get away from the situation."

She called police on her cell phone, then noticed Stephanie Gilstrap and Zettlen get into a white SUV.

Stephanie Gilstrap tried to drive forward, but her husband blocked the car, Pearson said.

"She kept inching forward, and he jumped on the hood," Pearson said.

The husband held onto the windshield wipers as the car traveled several blocks, with Anopol following and giving police constant updates on their location.

"It was very apparent that she was trying to get him off the hood because she would speed up and then she'd slam on her brakes," Anopol said.

Police stopped the car a few minutes later near 11300 S. River Parkway Drive.

"He (the husband) was still on the hood of the car when the officer stopped the vehicle," Pearson said.

The husband requested an attorney when police began questioning him at the police station, Pearson said.

Police later found the knife allegedly used in the stabbing.

Yellow police tape surrounded the Gilstraps' residence as neighbors mulled in the streets to discuss the bizarre events that unfolded in their usually serene neighborhood.

Those who knew the couple said they were typically quiet and kept to themselves. Benjamin Gilstrap worked as a dentist in the Sandy area, Pearson said.

Police had recently been called to the couple's residence in connection with some domestic disputes, though Pearson did not elaborate on the nature of the incidents.


E-MAIL: djensen@desnews.com

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