ST. GEORGE – A Las Vegas man was arrested Friday in St. George after nearly running over a bicycle patrol officer and evading police, along with other traffic and drug-related charges.
Two St. George Police Mountain Bike Patrol officers, Officers Stan Thompson and Travis Willinger, were in the area of the Canyons Softball Complex on 2000 North in St. George and noticed a black Cadillac Escalade quickly leave the parking lot. According to a probable cause statement written by Thompson, Willinger noted the occupants of the car “had left a large bag in the parking lot on the south west side.”
The Escalade was driven by Joey Lynn Roy, 37, of Las Vegas, according to the probable cause statement. A passenger was identified as Danielle Marie Roberts, 31, also of Las Vegas.
The black Escalade turned around and headed back toward where Willinger and the bag were located.
“In doing so, he just about ran a police officer over,” St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said.
Willinger had his hand up toward the Escalade in a gesture to stop. The blue-and-red lights on his bike were also flashing while he yelled, “Police! Stop!” at the oncoming car. According to the statement, Willinger “had to jump off of his bike and run toward the curb to avoid being hit by the fleeing vehicle.”
Thompson attempted to get the driver’s attention with his flashlight, but the car drove on by. As it did, Thompson noted “a strong odor of raw marijuana” coming from the car. He continued to follow the car and turned on his emergency lights.
The car turned onto 2000 North at a high rate of speed, narrowly avoiding a collision with oncoming traffic. While making the turn, Thompson observed the Escalade fail to remain in its lane as it went into the center turn lane. Thompson estimated the car was traveling 60 mph in a 30 mph speed zone, and said he could see rocks and dust kicked up by the tires.
Neither officer was able to get a complete look at the car’s license plate at the time, but radioed in as much as they were able.
The car then turned onto 2100 West where the officer soon lost sight of it, but he said: “I could see a cloud of dust that was in the air. It was obvious the driver was trying to evade me.”
The Escalade was eventually sighted again by police in an unmarked patrol car who reported it was driving east on 2000 North. The Escalade then turned onto Tuweap Drive where Thompson was located. Thompson turned on his emergency lights and this time the car stopped in the roadway.
Due to the driver’s reckless driving and nearly hitting the other officer, Thompson unholstered his pistol while giving verbal commands for the driver to get out of his car. The driver complied. Thompson re-holstered his firearm and handcuffed the man.
“The male and the vehicle still had the strong odor of raw marijuana,” Thompson said in the probable cause statement.
A search of the vehicle produced what police described as a small wooden grinder with a dried leafy green material on it. Additional investigation found a quart-sized mason jar and small plastic container filled with the leafy green substance hidden in rocks by a nearby residence. The homeowner told police the black Escalade had stopped in the area and the driver got out and went into the rocks and acted like he was hiding something. He then got back in the car and quickly left the area.
Roy and Roberts admitted to smoking marijuana and hiding the containers, according to the probable cause statement.
Both Roy and Roberts were taken to Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility. Roberts was charged with three class-A misdemeanors for drug possession and drug paraphernalia.
Roy was charged with two third-degree felony counts related to aggravated assault and evading police in a vehicle, four class-A misdemeanors related to drug possession, paraphernalia, and obstruction of justice, and one class-B misdemeanor for reckless driving.
Both were also cited for not wearing their seat belts.
“They may have tried to outrun the police,” Despain said, “but it’s hard for them to outrun police radios.”
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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