Maricopa man gets 12 years in prison after trying to hit officers with truck

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Joseph Burns By Jennifer Thomas Joseph Burns By Jennifer Thomas

MARICOPA, Ariz. – A Maricopa man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated assault on an officer, according to the Pinal County Attorney's Office.

Joseph Burns, 30, was arrested after he attempted to hit officers with a stolen truck earlier this year.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF) received a tip regarding a stolen vehicle in the early morning hours of March 14. They were informed the truck was located in a motel parking lot on East Main Street in Mesa and that the driver was armed.

Task Force members began to follow the truck as it left the motel and drove into Pinal County.

Additional officers responded to the area and decided to contact Burns as he sat in the vehicle in a San Tan Valley parking lot.

Detectives positioned their vehicles nose to nose with the stolen truck and another directly behind it. Officers exited their vehicles and began issuing commands when Burns put the truck in reverse and rammed a law enforcement vehicle, causing a VTTF detective to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

Burns then put the truck in drive and rammed another detective's vehicle directly in front of him, pushing it aside.

Additional officers used their vehicles to pin the stolen truck against an island in the parking lot. Officers heard Burns engage the accelerator. At that point, officers opened fire. He was shot under the left arm and was taken into custody.

After pleading guilty, Burns faced a sentencing range of 7 to 13 years for each count. The two 12-year sentences will run concurrently.