Who are the people who run from police? In some of the valley's recent high-profile pursuits, they're people police already knew.
When police pulled Christopher McMillan from a wrecked car marred with bullet holes at the end of a high-speed pursuit, they didn't have to ask for his name.Despite being arrested more than a dozen times by different police agencies, until his latest run-in with the law, McMillan had only spent about 35 days in jail.
West Valley police said they'd chased the 25-year-old man more than a half-dozen times. In fact, until January of this year, McMillan had never even been charged with fleeing police, according to court records.
On Jan. 5, police say, he stole a pickup truck that was idling in the driveway of a Sandy home and then led Sandy police on a chase that ended in West Jordan when the truck headed into oncoming traffic.
The next day a Utah Highway Patrol trooper spotted the same truck speeding in Tooele County. He attempted to pull the truck over but the driver continued at speeds of up to 100 mph into a Magna neighborhood.
There, officers from West Valley City, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and the UHP boxed in the truck. The driver began to ram patrol cars, and a trooper and a deputy fired about 10 shots at the truck with one of the bullets hitting the driver in the foot.
As soon as police learned who was behind the wheel, they began complaining about the number of times he'd been arrested and the lack of consequences for running from police and other crimes.
McMillan does have a lengthy arrest record. And according to court records, he was a defendant in two dozen cases in Salt Lake County, although most of the charges were driving violations or minor drug crimes.
But police may be at least partially to blame for McMillan being on the street. Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Potter said two arrests - one for investigation of aggravated assault on a police officer and one for restricted person with a firearm and false information to a police officer - went nowhere.
In both cases, jail records show McMillan was freed because prosecutors didn't file charges in either case. Potter said he's looking into why charges weren't filed but hasn't found any answers.
But Potter ran through the rest of the arrests and cases pending against McMillan and said even without those cases, he shouldn't have been free.
"This guy should have been in prison," he said.
- Another man involved in a high-profile chase that ended in a fatal shooting was also well-known by police.
When the driver of a stolen car wouldn't stop for sheriff's deputies the night of Dec. 20, deputy Mike Anderson pursued. The car crashed into a snowbank in a Millcreek neighborhood, and the three teens inside ran from the vehicle. Two boys scaled a fence and got away, but 17-year-old Alicia Avila couldn't get over the fence before Anderson got to her.
Investigators said she turned toward Anderson with her hand raised. Anderson fired one shot into her chest, killing her. No weapon was found in the girl's possession, but a hairbrush was found on the ground next to her.
When deputies asked for help locating the man they believe was driving the stolen car, South Salt Lake police knew just where to find him. Officers say they had chased him on at least three previous occasions.
William Winn, 18, was later arrested and charged with evading police, a third-degree felony.
Despite being an adult for less than a year, Winn has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail five different times and until this last case had spent 41 days in jail. He has four cases pending - all involve running from police.
In both the Winn and McMillan cases, police were chasing stolen vehicles and didn't know who was behind the wheel.
- But in a chase in Salt Lake City the day after McMillan was shot, Jan. 7, police knew who was behind the wheel of a stolen car they were chasing.
In fact, police officers were on their way to jail with Denny Alvarez when they said he slipped one hand out of his handcuffs, jumped from a patrol car and ran to a convenience store. There he allegedly stole a commercial glass truck.
Police chased the truck for about 10 minutes through the city's streets - not at extremely high rates of speed, but the truck did run red lights. A sergeant decided to call the chase off as the chase headed into more populous areas of the city and the driver continued to run red lights.
A few minutes after officers backed off, the truck smashed into a sedan driven by an elderly couple with such force that the truck tipped onto its side at 700 S. West Temple.
The man and woman in the sedan were taken to a hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries.
In the Alvarez case, police wanted to question him in connection with the robbery of a downtown bakery in which the owner/ manager was shot in the leg after refusing to turn over her car keys.
Alvarez was on parole for armed robbery, and the Board of Pardons had issued a warrant for his arrest on Dec. 8. Police found him after someone saw Alvarez featured on KSTU's "Utah's Most Wanted" and told authorities where they could find him.
In most cases police don't know whom they're chasing or why the drivers are fleeing. But Potter said it's frustrating for police to arrest the same people over and over.
He said the sheriff's office is looking at changing the way it keeps track of pursuits. Currently pursuits are often listed as a secondary crime and may get lost in the shuffle between the arrest, charges, plea agreements and trials.
"I'm more concerned that a lot of times we don't follow through on it, so we don't even know how often it's happening," he said.