ST. GEORGE – A traffic stop for speeding and illegal passing escalated Thursday when a suspect sped away from the officer who had pulled him over. The man was later found in possession of a stolen vehicle, identification and finance cards that did not belong to him, and other pilfered property.
Late Thursday afternoon, Capt. Kyle Whitehead, of the St. George Police Department, observed a vehicle speeding on Diagonal Street in St. George and also illegally passing several other vehicles. Whitehead pulled the vehicle over for a traffic stop. As he exited his patrol car and approached the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle sped away from him.
“Captain Whitehead was able to watch the vehicle pull into the area of the Stadium 8 movie theater,” St. George Police Officer Joshua Wilson wrote in a probable cause statement supporting the suspect’s arrest. “He drove around the area and discovered the vehicle abandoned with the door open and the engine still running.”
Upon researching the abandoned vehicle, St. George Police officers determined the car had been stolen from the St. George area. Inside the car, officers found several items that had been reported missing after a previous vehicle burglary. Various personal identifying government documents and three finance cards were also found in the vehicle, none of which were found to belong to the suspect when he was apprehended.
A few minutes later, the St. George Police Department received a report of a suspicious person in the bathroom of a business close to where the vehicle was abandoned. Officers responded and made contact with Brandon James Weidner, of St. George. Officers discovered that Weidner was injured.
“We determined Brandon had been injured from having jumped over a block wall of significant height while eluding law enforcement officers,” Wilson wrote in the statement.
Weidner was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center to be treated for unspecified injuries. While Weidner was at the hospital, Wilson read him his Miranda rights and interviewed him.
“He spoke with me about his dealings this last week,” Wilson wrote in the statement. “He informed me that he stole a white Volvo vehicle because he was walking past it and saw the keys still in the ignition.”
Weidner said he drove the stolen Volvo around for a few days and then abandoned it near the Texas Roadhouse restaurant on Red Cliffs Drive in St. George. Weidner then stole a white Honda Accord from the parking lot of C-A-L Ranch, which is the vehicle he was driving when he evaded officers Thursday.
“Brandon admitted he had acquired a stolen license plate from a friend,” Wilson wrote in the statement. “This license plate was taken off of another white Honda Accord vehicle to match the stolen one. He stated he put this plate on the vehicle just in case the police ran the plate (so) it wouldn’t come back stolen.”
St. George Police Officer Derek Lewis said when a suspect is injured it is police protocol to transport the person to the hospital for examination and treatment before the suspect is incarcerated. Once Weidner was cleared by medical personnel, he was transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked on an Adult Probation and Parole 72-hour hold, according to the statement.
Weidner was charged with two second-degree felonies for motor vehicle theft; one third-degree felony for evading police and fleeing by vehicle; three third-degree felonies for acquiring financial cards without consent; one class A misdemeanor for fraudulently possessing an identification document; and one class B misdemeanor for receiving stolen property.
Weidner is still in custody at the time of this publication. He is being held on $42,444 bail, according to current bookings information. Weidner will not be able to post bail until the conclusion of his three-day AP&P hold, and the three days will not begin until Monday, according to information from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Weidner’s initial court appearance was Friday.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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