Video of dramatic traffic stop shows dangers officers can face
SOUTH OGDEN — "Let me see your ... hands! Turn the car off. Turn the car off!" South Ogden Police Sgt. Trent Olsen yelled at the driver he had just pulled over and the passenger in the back seat.
Just before midnight on Dec. 31, Olsen and officer Scott Brown were involved in an intense traffic stop involving a known gang member who not only had a warrant out for his arrest, but also had a history of violence and was known for always being armed.
The dangerous encounter was captured on the dashcam video from Olsen's patrol car parked behind the suspect's vehicle that was carrying five children. It shows the extreme dangers officers sometimes face when dealing with criminals.
Officers got into a fistfight with Scott Todd Sanders, 30, before they were finally able to restrain and arrest him. Afterward, police said they discovered a gun underneath the seat where he had been sitting, as well as drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Two officers were injured during the struggle, including Olsen, who is expected to miss several weeks of work with a knee injury.
"Knowing who was involved with this, it's pretty unsettling," South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke said of the incident. "You realize how dangerous it can be at times out there and how some people are very determined to continue on their way and not be arrested."
Making the situation even more dangerous and complex for officers was the fact that there were five children in the vehicle — all between the ages of 2 and 8 — in addition to four adults.
"The fear was we were going to have a gunfight, right in the middle of all these children," Parke said.
The incident began about 11:30 p.m. that night when officers spotted Sanders in a vehicle and pulled him over near 3300 Adams Ave. Sanders was in the back seat. Within 18 seconds of approaching the vehicle from the driver's side door, Olsen reached for his gun. Three seconds later, he pulled it out of his holster and ordered the driver to take the keys out of the ignition and ordered Sanders to show his hands.
"I will (expletive) shoot you," Olsen threatens. "Don't do it."
"What the videos don't show is that (Sanders is) continually putting his hands up and then reaching down towards the floor boards of the car — which, based on his history, made the officers very concerned he was reaching for a firearm," the chief said. "He was in the back seat telling (the driver) to just 'Go, go, go.' At one point the officer reaches in to try and take the keys out of the ignition and the suspect came out of the back seat and grabbed onto the officer. So again, the tension was rising during the entire encounter."
Instead of using his gun, Olsen put it back in his holster and reached for his Taser. Though he attempted to use it, the prongs did not hit his intended target.
For the next minute, the video shows a chaotic scene of officers yelling at the people inside the vehicle, and the occupants of the vehicle yelling back as well as some of the children crying.
About 90 seconds after officers first spoke to the driver, Sanders got out of the passenger side door and immediately started fighting with the two officers. The first backup officers arrived 10 seconds later.
The fight moved to a nearby driveway, just out of the view of the dash-cam. But the officers can be heard struggling with Sanders, telling him several times, "Stop resisting."
"He's striking the officers, he's trying to kick at the officers, he's just doing anything he can to get away," Parke said.
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