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Man Who Used Stolen Suv to Assault Police Officers at Hoover Dam Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2010

Las Vegas, Nev. – A recidivist felon who broke through security checkpoints at Hoover Dam with a stolen SUV, and tried to run over the federal police officers who attempted to stop him, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and three years of supervised release, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Joel K. Parker, 51, of Las Vegas, was sentenced on Monday, October 4, 2010, by U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro. Parker was convicted by a federal jury in Las Vegas on June 30, 2010, of one felony count of assaulting, resisting or impeding a federal officer, and one misdemeanor count of assaulting, resisting or impeding a federal officer.

Parker broke into a residence in Henderson, Nevada, on February 6, 2006, and threatened to kill the female resident if she did not provide her car keys to him. Parker then stole the woman's 2005 Dodge Durango SUV and drove southbound on U.S. Highway 93 at a high rate of speed, causing oncoming motorists to pull off the road to avoid colliding with defendant. When Parker entered the area of Hoover Dam, which is managed by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, a Hoover Dam Police Department Officer in a patrol vehicle attempted to stop him. Parker continued driving until he was forced to stop by security barriers. The Hoover Dam Police Officer, who had followed Parker, exited his vehicle and drew his weapon, and told Parker to exit the SUV. Parker refused, put the vehicle into reverse and accelerated at a high rate of speed directly towards the Officer, leaving 17 feet of reverse acceleration marks on the asphalt. The Hoover Dam Police Officer jumped back into his vehicle. Parker crashed the SUV into the Officer's vehicle, injuring the Officer and pinning him between the two vehicles. Parker then fled the scene in the SUV. Two other Hoover Dam Police Department Officers, two National Park Service Rangers, and a Boulder City Police Department Officer, pursued Parker on a high-speed chase for seven miles, eventually stopping him with a "spike strip," which punctured the tires of the SUV. Parker, who stands six feet, five inches tall and weighed 260 pounds at that time, got out of the SUV and rushed toward a Hoover Dam Police Department officer who had exited her vehicle. The officer drew her firearm and commanded Parker to the ground. Parker complied and was taken into custody.

Parker has four prior felony convictions in Clark County for burglary, larceny, robbery, and attempted possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, and a prior felony conviction in Los Angeles County for robbery. Additionally, at the time Parker committed the federal crime at Hoover Dam, there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest in West Memphis, Arkansas, for felony aggravated assault, for allegedly attempting to run over an off-duty police officer using the long-haul Freightliner truck he was driving.

Judge Pro ordered Parker to serve the federal sentence consecutively to the three- to eight-year sentence he received in state court for the home invasion robbery in Henderson in which he stole the SUV.

The case was investigated by the Hoover Dam Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Peter S. Levitt and Rob Ellman.

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