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Updated Dec 16, 2013 - 10:24 pm

Embattled Tempe officer involved in two chases resigns

Garrett Michael Peterson. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX -- An embattled Tempe police officer resigned from the force on Monday, the department confirmed.

Officer Garrett Michael Peterson, 30, resigned the same day he made an appearance in court after a Saturday car chase that saw speeds more than 120 mph.

"It's a shock to all of here at the Tempe Police Department," Tempe Police Sgt. Mike Pooley said. "Many of us have worked with (Peterson). Many of us know him very well and we had no idea this was happening to him."

Poole said Peterson was hired in May 2007 and was a good officer.

"He was a very good employee," he said. "We're very saddened by this. We're trying to make sense of it. We're trying to figure out what turned around in his life to make him have these poor decisions."

After resigning, Peterson allegedly led Arizona Department of Public Safety officers on a brief chase on Interstate 8 near Yuma. DPS said Peterson was driving at speeds of more than 90 mph and, after making several turns, hit a commercial truck head-on.

Peterson was hospitalized with a minor head injury. DPS said impairment may have been a factor.

Tempe police said Peterson has been detained by DPS and is in their custody.

Peterson was charged with felony endangerment, threatening and intimidating, driving under the influence, felony flight and reckless driving in the first chase. Bond was set at $10,000 with a Dec. 20 status conference and Dec. 24 preliminary hearing.

Peterson doesn't have an attorney yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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