AMERICAN FORK — A Springville man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase through several cities, at times charging his vehicle at officers, is facing 10 felony charges.
Michael Charles Rankin, 40, was charged Friday with four counts of assault against a peace officer, a second-degree felony, and six counts of failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop, a third-degree felony.
Rankin is accused of leading police on a chase through multiple cities, including Mapleton, Payson, Springville and Spanish Fork, as well as Payson Canyon. Police reported that Rankin reached speeds of 120 mph, including speeding through 25-mph zones, according to charging documents filed in 4th District Court.
The Oct. 29 incident began when a Mapleton police officer attempted to pull over Rankin for an expired license plate, charges state, but the man drove away. The officer stopped pursuing Rankin's car when speeds became unsafe for the city's streets.
Additional officers from the Utah Highway Patrol and the Payson and Springville police departments picked up the chase intermittently, dropping off when Rankin's speeds climbed and driving became erratic, according to the charges.
In Springville, Rankin swerved toward an officer who had been attempting to put spike strips in his path, nearly hitting him, charges state.
Rankin "then made a U-turn and again aimed at the officer with his vehicle, almost hitting him again," according to the charges.
The Springville police officer shot at Rankin as another officer attempted a PIT maneuver to stop the car, charges state, but Rankin continued on, using an exit ramp to enter I-15 going the wrong direction and then making a U-turn to head south down the freeway.
Police say a female relative, who was in the passenger seat of the car but was not involved in the incident, was grazed by the officer's bullet. Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon reported the bullet pierced the woman's scalp and then exited again without penetrating her skull.2 comments on this story
Charges indicate Rankin again charged at officers with his vehicle in Spanish Fork. Police have said a Spanish Fork officer also shot at Rankin before he was taken into custody. Charges say the man tested positive for amphetamines, THC and methamphetamine.
In addition to the 10 felonies, Rankin is charged with driving with a measurable controlled substance in the body and reckless driving, both class B misdemeanors, and an infraction for driving a vehicle with no registration.
Rankin's next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.
The Utah County Attorney's Office and Critical Incident Task Force are investigating the officers' use of deadly force. Both officers are on paid administrative leave while the incident is reviewed.