CRIME

Police: Suspect dislocates thumb to escape handcuffs, steals UHP patrol car

Jul 22, 2023, 8:35 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2023, 3:20 pm

FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)...

FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A man pulled a Houdini while in police custody, leading them on a high-speed chase Thursday afternoon.

At approximately 5:16 p.m., Utah Highway Patrol troopers arrested 24-year-old Alexander Elvira Martinez at a Maverik gas station on 400 South and Redwood Road, according to the affidavit.

Police said Martinez had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.


After being searched by a UHP trooper, Martinez was placed in a marked patrol car without a prisoner cage, according to the affidavit.

A trooper exited the car, and “Martinez dislocated his right thumb and slipped the right handcuff,” according to the affidavit. He jumped into the driver’s seat and drove away from the troopers.

Police chased after Martinez as he drove into oncoming traffic and ran stop signs at a high rate of speed.

According to the affidavit, Martinez stopped the UHP patrol car at the 1170 West Emery Street intersection and fled on foot towards the Jordan River.

Police set up a containment in the area and requested a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter for assistance.

At approximately 6:50 p.m., police found Martinez in a homeless camp at 1000 W Folsom Ave, according to the affidavit. He was arrested without further incident.

Police found Martinez with a loaded syringe that was filled with heroin.


After being read his Miranda rights, Martinez told police Martinez “he was not trying to steal a vehicle and did not want to be in jail as he was going to be ‘dope sick,'” according to the affidavit.

Martinez was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for;

  • second-degree felony of receiving a stolen vehicle,
  • second-degree felony of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person,
  • third-degree felony of failing to stop at command of police,
  • third-degree felony of escaping from official custody,
  • class A misdemeanor of failing to stop at command of police,
  • class A misdemeanor of possession of a controlled substance schedule I/II/analog,
  • class B misdemeanor of reckless driving,
  • class B misdemeanor of use or possession of drug paraphernalia,
  • and class C misdemeanor of driving on a denied license.

Martinez was also cited for a traffic infraction for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

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Police: Suspect dislocates thumb to escape handcuffs, steals UHP patrol car