Knowing who was involved with this, it's pretty unsettling. 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. —South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke
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.
In the police affidavit filed in 2nd District Court, the officers admitted punching Sanders several times with a closed fist because he kept reaching for something in his waistband.
While the officers were occupied with Sanders, one of the other male occupants of the car is seen on the camera getting out and casually walking away.
Neighbors and onlookers also appeared to get in the way during the fight. Olsen can be heard at one point telling a neighbor to put their dog in the house.
"Step back," an exasperated Olsen is heard saying to an onlooker. "What are you doing? This is a parole fugitive who is usually armed. You want to go to jail? I'm going to give you one more warning and then you're going to go to jail."
Police finally got Sanders in custody about three minutes after the incident began.
"You (expletive), you got kids in the car," an officer can be heard telling Sanders.
"Scott, you stupid (expletive), you put the kids in danger like that," added another.
While another can be heard telling him: "You're going to get yourself shot."
"I need that vehicle searched in the back because he's always armed — that back seat," Olsen orders other officers.
Detectives searching the vehicle found a gun stolen out of Clearfield under the passenger seat where Sanders had been sitting. They also found a syringe and meth pipe, according to the affidavit. While searching Sanders, officers said they also found meth and heroin.
He was later charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a second-degree felony; failing to stop at the command of police, a class A misdemeanor; assault against a police officer, a class A misdemeanor; interfering with an arresting officer, a class B misdemeanor; and drug possession, a class B misdemeanor.
The driver of the vehicle, Stefanie Nedig, 28, was arrested for investigation of harboring a wanted fugitive.
Parke said Sanders is well-known to law enforcement. "Anything in the criminal world you can think of, he's not above getting involved in," he said.
Sanders was also charged Jan. 6 with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony, in 2nd District Court. He was charged in another incident with theft by receiving stolen property on Jan. 2 as well as failing to stop at the command of a police officer, a third-degree felony, according to Utah state court records. Sanders was charged with similar crimes in yet another case filed in October.
In the October incident, police said Sanders was found "sitting on two loaded pistols in a vehicle." He also "attempted to run and fought with officers when trying to take him into custody," a police affidavit states. Officers said he was also in possession of meth.
He pleaded guilty to failing to stop at the command of a police officer in 2011 and was sentenced to prison, according to court records. He was released from prison about a year ago. He was convicted of attempted robbery in 2004 as well as felony drug possession in a separate case.
"He's a very dangerous man. He's somebody we need to have locked up and not running the streets," Parke said.