Police arrest man in stolen USPS truck after standoff

Feb 5, 2024, 3:35 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2024, 11:47 am

CENTERVILLE  — Police in Centerville arrested a man Monday who barricaded himself inside a stolen mail truck.

Centerville Police Chief Paul Child said the man carjacked the truck earlier in Salt Lake City and ended up in Bountiful where he was involved in a hit-and-run incident on 2600 South just after 1 p.m.

In arresting documents, the man was identified as 32-year-old Wilber Castellanos Hernadez.

Child said Hernadez then tried to run over two people in a business parking lot before traveling through Woods Cross and West Bountiful, ending up in Centerville on Porter Lane.

At that point, Child said, officers tried to stop the mail truck, but Hernadez crashed into another vehicle and kept going. After entering a parking lot, Child said Hernadez tried to run over a police officer and then rammed into a Centerville police cruiser.

Hernadez then barricaded himself inside the mail truck and refused to obey officers’ commands despite being shot with a Taser multiple times, Child said.

“He eventually moved into the back of the mail truck where there’s a partition there and started throwing items from the back of the truck,” said Child. “He was also throwing items at officers.”

Child said Hernadez had a knife and acted multiple times as if he had a rifle, pointing an object at officers. The chief said officers used less lethal means to eventually get Hernadez to surrender at approximately 2:15 p.m.

During the ordeal, Child said one officer was bitten, and several other officers had minor injuries such as scratches.

Witnesses react to the situation

Andrew Lukenbach lives next door to where the standoff took place in Centerville. His surveillance video captured the whole ordeal — including when the suspect rammed the police cruiser.

“That’s crazy,” he said of the video. “That’s insane.”

He was gone when all the action happened, but his wife, Tishina Lukenbach, was home.

“I watched almost all of it,” she said, “until I got a little nervous and scared.”

The couple agreed this was a startling event on their normally quiet street.

“It’s just crazy,” Andrew Lukenbach said. “You don’t expect this kind of stuff to happen in your neighborhood.”

Hernadez faces a slew of potential charges, including aggravated assault, assault on a police officer, theft of mail, evading, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of a crash. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for a first-degree felony charge of aggravated robbery.

A Salt Lake City Police Department spokesperson told KSL TV the man was originally reported trying to break into vehicles near 1600 West Northwood Avenue before threatening a postal worker with a knife and stealing the mail truck.

Larry D. Curtis contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Police arrest man in stolen USPS truck after standoff