Man arrested after overdosing on heroin at Coronada Inn & Suites

Coronada Inn & Suites located at 559 E. St. George Blvd., St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A woman and her ex-husband were arrested on drug charges Thursday evening after the woman called for help when her ex-husband overdosed on heroin in a room at the Coronada Inn & Suites in St. George.

St. George Police officers and medical responders were dispatched to the Coronada Inn & Suites, 559 E. St. George Blvd., after Chelsea Hunerlach, 20, of Washington City, reported that her ex-husband, Jon Vincent Paxman, 22, of St. George, had overdosed, according to a probable cause statement written by St. George Police Officer Doug Iverson.

Jon Vincent Paxman, of St. George, booking photo posted Sept. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Jon Vincent Paxman, of St. George, booking photo posted Sept. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Upon entering the hotel room, Iverson found Paxman lying on the floor, according to the statement. Paramedics were able to revive him with Narcan, an opioid antagonist, and ground ambulance transported him to Dixie Regional Medical Center.

During an investigation into the overdose, officers discovered multiple syringes already used and two syringes that were loaded with suspected heroin. Iverson read Hunerlach her Miranda rights and asked her about the heroin.

“She was very distraught and stated it was Jon’s,” Iverson wrote in the statement.

Iverson searched Hunerlach’s purse, which he had found sitting in the middle of the room on the floor, and found a loaded syringe. He asked if the purse was hers and she said yes.

“I asked if there was anything inside that would stick or poke me. She stated ‘you know when you’re married to someone and your stuff gets mixed up with each other’s belongings, well that’s what must have happened,'” Iverson wrote in the statement.

Chelsea Hunerlach, of Washington City, booking photo posted Sept. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Chelsea Hunerlach, of Washington City, booking photo posted Sept. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Iverson asked Hunerlach what she meant by that, and she responded that she hadn’t used heroin for 2 weeks. After asking again if the needle found in the purse was hers, Hunerlach said she didn’t know for sure.

Hunerlach was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

After Paxman became coherent, he was read his Miranda rights, and Iverson asked him if he had used heroin that night. Paxman said he had.

“I asked him if the needles, cotton balls, tin foil, spoon and plastic with brown residue was his and he stated ‘most of it,'” Iverson wrote in the statement.

Paxman was also arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

Paxman and Hunerlach were each charged with one third-degree felony for possession of heroin. Hunerlach was additionally charged with a class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia, and Paxman was charged with a class A misdemeanor for possession of paraphernalia and a class A misdemeanor for probation violation. According to bookings information, each person’s bail stands at $6,943.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Ed. note:  It was learned post-publication that Paxman is Hunerlach’s ex-husband; correction made Oct. 4.

See follow up reports: 

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44 Comments

  • Paul Harmer September 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    How small a dose of heroin isn’t an “overdose?”

  • ladybugavenger September 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Isn’t there some leniency when a person overdoses and another person calls 911 to save their life. To not deter people from getting help for a person that overdosed and might die. You know, it could be easy for someone to leave a person to die so they don’t get arrested for drugs. Thank God she didn’t leave him their to overdose and die.

    • ladybugavenger September 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Of course their gonna find heroin and used syringes, he just overdosed

    • Andy September 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

      As to leniency for the one who calls 911…the judge has the ability to take that into account upon sentencing.

      • MOM September 13, 2014 at 10:51 am

        Thank you for pointing that out. The one that calls also needs to stay with the person until help arrives and tell the cops what they have used. So they r also self incriminating most of the time. Yet in our little area we are behind in terms of legislation compared to SLC or other states. Utah code does not always follow judicial decisions….therefore if this case doesn’t get dismissed or shown leniency then it will just reinforce to others in the same situation that unless they leave the person for dead they will be charged.

    • sagemoon September 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      There was a law passed this year that a person will not be charged if they report the overdose, stay with the person, and cooperate with any questions asked by police and medical personnel. From what I read above, she may not have been as cooperative as she should have been.

      • LOVED ONE September 14, 2014 at 10:16 am

        SHE WAS COOPERATIVE & IS STILL IN SHOCK.. HOWEVER THE PROSECUTOR RYAN SCHAUM HAS NOT BE IN A SITUATION IN WHICH THIS HAD APPLIED YET. HE NEEDS TIME TO INVESTIGATE AND HOPEFULLY THE JUDGE WILL LOOK INTO IT THIS WEEK AND DO THE RIGHT THING. IT WOULD SET PRECEDENCE AND SAVE LIVES.
        IF NOT THEN WE NO WHO IS PARTIALLY TO BLAME FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THAT LEAVE THE SCENE AND DEATH OCCURS.

        • sagemoon September 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

          I’m glad to hear that. It’s a shame law enforcement isn’t up to speed on how to handle this new law. I hope Mr. Schaum does the right thing for your loved one. If the new law applies to her, she needs to be released ASAP.

  • Zonkerb September 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Nothing like free advertisement LMAO

    • MOM September 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

      You must be twisted if you think something like this is FUNNY. Grow up.

  • Mary September 13, 2014 at 7:26 am

    The wife is from Washington City & the husband is from St George ?
    What was this , some marriage of convenience ?
    Or they just didn’t want the rest of the family to know they were married so they were living apart ?

    • MOM September 13, 2014 at 8:52 am

      This is such a sad day for my family….There was a third party who provided, used & sold the drugs & HE left the scene after the overdose. YES I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
      Not all the reported information was correct…
      In some cultures you can be married in spirit…it is only a petty issue for some narrow minded judgmental people. Not saying they are or are not married, as it is not anyones business but theirs.
      I have the” purse” & all their belongings collected by the motel, with missing items such as an I POD, CREDIT CARDS WALLETS ETC.
      YES THERE IS A LAW THAT STATES U MUST STAY WITH PERSON WHO OVERDOSED…& COOPERATE WITH POLICE. YET CHELSEA IS LOCKED UP.
      The prosecutor decides if it is a valid defense or not according to our attorney, so to prevent more overdoses we as a community need to support the people that come forth.
      CHELSEA would never have walked away, she is a good person who needs prayers & support form the community as does JON not judgement.
      FURTHERMORE THE HOTELS THAT SUPPORT THESES SERVICES NEED TO STOP LOOKING THE OTHER WAY.

      • ladybugavenger September 13, 2014 at 9:08 am

        I agree, she needs leniency for staying there. I feel your pain, MOM. As for the other person that left. Shame on him! He needs to be locked up just for leaving a person to die.

        • MOM September 13, 2014 at 10:58 am

          Thank you for your kindness. My daughter is a first time offender who has chronic medical conditions that the jail has no resources to treat…they refused to allow her meds to be taken and if she dies it is on them. She needs medical help not judgment. Now I am forced to pay for an attorney just to ensure her survival because if she only had a court appointed attorney she would be medical danger as she would be 1 of their 100 caseloads and this would drag out for months.

      • JOSH DALTON (INCOGNEGRO) September 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

        So why don’t you drop a dime on this small time dealer before somebody that is actually innocent gets the bad batch of heroin. You know as well as I do if this was the nice little LDS Homecoming queen that was just trying heroin for the first time, the cops would have found the 3rd party and everybody associated with them would have been arrested. Oh…and maybe you should quit buying your drugs from him too. Its a bad batch. GO FALCONS!

        • MOM September 13, 2014 at 11:49 am

          One he is not small time. Second already done yet 3rd party info not admissible in court. SO unless the person buying the drugs rats them out personally it is here say.
          The phone records will prove whose involved….The task force is doing it’s job, please let them do it.

        • WAKEUP September 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

          This has nothing to do with religion. Grow up and stop bragging about your glory days of doing drugs. This was a 20 year old 80 pound sick girl who was taken advantage of. Unless u personally Know her stop running your mouth. AND FYI I HAVE NEVER DONE ILLEGAL DRUGS, nor has anyone I know

      • sagemoon September 13, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        I hope the new good samaritan law works in Chelsea’s favor. I hope the dipstick who left the scene gets busted. Jerk.

        • LOVED ONE September 14, 2014 at 10:08 am

          Thank you for getting the purpose of the injustice and the legality of it and not turning the comments into a “BAD KID” or Heroin user issue.
          SOME PEOPLE CAN’T STICK TO THE ISSUE AT HAND AND THEIR COMMENTS ARE OFFENSIVE ..THEY NEED TO STOP PROJECTING THEIR FORMER DRUG PROBLEMS ONTO OTHERS. NOT EVERYONE STEALS SOME R FUNCTIONING PEOPLE WHO R ADULTS THAT CHOOSE TO RECREATIONALLY USE. IF WE LIVED IN BC THIS WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE.

  • JOSH DALTON (INCOGNEGRO) September 13, 2014 at 8:01 am

    If these kids don’t get the help they need, we are going to have another armed robbery on our hands. I was hooked on heroin and a number of other drugs that I have since retired from. 12yrs retired! Heroin is a mounting problem among the youth these days. The biggest problem is that our youth feel entitled, they won’t even work to support their drug problem. So having a habit that you can’t support, chances are you will revert to stealing what you can’t afford. I am only speaking from experience. GO FALCONS!

    • MOM September 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

      JON HAD A JOB…CHELSEA IS DISABLED. These are good kids.

      • JOSH DALTON (INCOGNEGRO) September 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

        Even “good” drug addict kids WILL resort to criminal activity to support there habits! Just having Heroin is a felony so they are already criminals. Why should we have compassion for people who are knowingly breaking the law? He chose to do the heroin….were is the accountability? Don’t enable these kids anymore than they already have been. The fact that this girl spends her disability money on drugs is why we have such a problem in our nation today. I was a straight A student and never got in trouble until I was a No longer a drug addict kid, but a drug addict adult. I have zero sympathy. Chelsea was not disabled enough to put a needle in her arm….I have a disability, i choose not to get the check. I choose to work for a living.GO FALCONS!

        • WAKEUP September 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

          HER MOTHER IS HER PAYEE….HER Mother turned tons of people in. So she has no disability $ to spend. JON who has a job did. Your disability must not be that bad if you can support Yourself. There are different types of disabilities and no now claims Chelsea put the needle in her own arm.
          SO WAKEUP UR LIVING IN THE PAST> GO FALCONS..LOL UR A JOKE.

      • Koolaid September 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

        Was he using disability checks to buy heroin?

    • Dana September 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Josh, glad you’re off of that junk. One day at a time, buddy!

    • sagemoon September 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Josh makes a good point. If these kids haven’t gotten to the point of stealing to support their habit, they will if they keep using. It’s just a sad, sad facet of heroin addiction.

    • LOVED ONE September 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

      SOUNDS LIKE U HAVE A CHIP ON UR SHOULDER N NEED COUNSELING.
      YOU HAVE NO COMPASSION AT ALL AND TO REMARK ABOUT THE GENERATION AND ENTITLEMENT ISSUES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ARTICLE. GET A LIFE…..GO FALCONS…LOL WHAT A JOKE.

  • Easy E September 13, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Get some sun girlfriend. You look like a freakin vampire.

    • MOM September 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Talk about being insensitive.
      Please submit your picture so others can comment on your appearance.

      • Jaybird September 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        Josh is right, Mom. Now we know how your “nice little girl” turned bad, through all your other victimizing and excuses. She joined the pandemic of heroin users in St. George who support the Mexican drug cartels. Grow some.

    • JOSH DALTON (INCOGNEGRO) September 13, 2014 at 11:35 am

      That was un-called for.

  • real life September 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

    HE should have definitely been arrested. SHE should have been let go. Not arrested, and not have her picture on the internet. A bad message is being sent.

    • MOM September 13, 2014 at 11:26 am

      Agreed especially since she has never been in trouble and is disabled and dependent on her mother. She did not have any $ to buy the dope, so it was not hers. After I collected her purse from the motel there were numerous phone chargers etc. that were not hers. So who put the stuff in there? Not saying she is incident she was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. HOWEVER I COMMEND HER FOR STAYING BEHIND AND NOT LEAVING HIM TO DIE LIKE THE OTHERS DID.

      • Jaybird September 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm

        She married a heroin addict. Enough said about her never being in trouble.

        • LOVED ONE September 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

          SHE HAS NEVER BEEN IN LEGAL TROUBLE…I never claimed she was perfect.
          Her marriage was annulled after he was arrested for lying about his legal issues and drug problems.

      • ladybugavenger September 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm

        …and that’s is what this about, she didn’t leave him there to die. She did what she was suppose to, she called 911. May they both change their lives and get out of the dark place of drugs

  • MOM September 13, 2014 at 11:04 am

    My sympathy also goes out to JON AKA “VINCE” Paxman. His family needs to step up and support him unconditionally. He is not perfect but who is. Please send him your prayers and wish him the best as he is also a victim. He was a young man who was introduced to this drug by some dealer looking to make a quick buck dishonestly. Who didn’t care what he was doing and the families he has destroyed. God knows how many people this dealer has killed and gotten away with . SHAME ON YOU for getting these kids hooked.

  • Koolaid September 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Southern Utahans messing around with a different horse.

  • MOM September 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

    PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE BELOW AND STEP UP AS A COMMUNITY AND DEMAND THAT THE PROSECUTOR ENFORCE THIS LAW…
    Overdose law gives immunity to drug-using good Samaritans; Washington County statistics
    Written by Drew Allred on June 4, 2014 in Community News, Health and Wellness, Life, News, Politics – 2 Comments

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic September 14, 2014 at 10:28 am

      The link to St. George News report (giving you some help, Mom 😀 ) on the March 2014 Utah law regarding drug-using good Samaritans is:
      http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/06/04/eda-overdose-law-gives-immunity-to-drug-using-good-samaritans-washington-county-statistics/#.VBXBki5dWwk
      This report may answer some of the questions raised in this comment forum, we hope it helps.
      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

      • MOM September 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        Thank you Joyce…I found this article asked my attorney on Friday to look over it and he called the prosecutor asking for an EX PARTE ORDER. The prosecutor stated it was too late to address as it was Friday & the weekend. Also that he was unfamilar as this has never been asked to look at this issue and to take it into consideration.
        My attorney is great I put 100% faith in him and pray the prosecutor will respond in the appropriate and fair manner to encourage others to save lives. Even if someone has a drug problem they do not deserve to be left to die just because UTAH / STG is behind the times legally.

        • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic September 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm

          We earnestly are interested in how this plays out, Mom – please feel free to write me privately: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com or call me: 435-632-0825.
          Sincerely,
          Joyce
          EIC

  • Patchiz September 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Fortunately a friend who is struggling with heroin sobriety and life explained in simple terms to me that jail for many of her using friends was a blessing. Locked away from the menace for even a weekend cost her greatly in many many ways, and ultimately saved her life , allowing her to continue to live and put up a good fight. Jail is difficult, that is appropriate,but take it from a mother who knows, laying your child to rest for all eternity, much much worse. @ Mom, please as your concerned for your daughter and her disabilities please have some faith in the folks she is surrounded by. Short of suicide, jail is as safe as safe can be.

    • MOM September 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      A PERSON WITH SEVERE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DOESN’T BELONG IN JAIL WHEN THEY ARE DEPRIVED OF THEIR MEDS. THEY ARE SAFER IN A MENTAL HEALTH UNIT & OR A CHRONIC HEALTH FACILITY. PURGATORY DOES NOT HAVE ONE. BY REMOVING HER I SAVED HER LIFE…SHE IS NOW BACK ON MEDS AND DOING GREAT. YOU MISSED THE BOAT….SHE IS NOT THE TYPICAL STATISTICAL JUNKIE ..LOL. WAKE UP PAY ATTENTION TO COMMENTS.

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