A smart victim and quick police response helped nab an alleged kidnapper and rapist Wednesday night, police say.
A female employee at the Holiday Inn Reservations center, 1275 W. 2240 South, went to retrieve something from her car Wednesday afternoon when a man approached her and lifted his shirt to display a gun, said West Valley Police Lt. Charles Illsley.The man forced the woman into her car and told her to drive to a location in Utah County where he allegedly raped her, Illsley said. The man then drove the woman back to the parking lot, where she somehow escaped and ran inside the building and called 911.
Police responded to the scene and set up a perimeter around the parking lot. While searching the parking lot an officer noticed a car's windshield wipers operating. He looked in the car and found a man lying across the front seat, Illsley said.
The officer drew his weapon and ordered the man out, but the man shifted the car into reverse and drove toward the officer. Then the man shifted forward and lead police on a "short but dangerous high-speed chase" eastbound on 2200 South, Illsley said. The man was unable to negotiate a curve near 1000 West, went airborne over a ditch bank and landed in a field.
The suspect got out of the car and tried to flee on foot. However, Sgt. Randy Pond ran the suspect down and took him into custody. Officers allegedly found a semi-automatic 9 mm handgun in the suspect's front pocket.
The victim was treated at a local hospital, and detectives were interviewing her to determine the exact location of the rape.
Travis C. Wood, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, possession of a firearm by a restricted person, aggravated robbery and fleeing from a police officer.
Wood, who had previously been arrested six times, has had five convictions, including for theft and fleeing from a police officer. There was also an outstanding warrant issued March 4 after Woods broke parole, Illsley said.