ST. GEORGE – A St. George man convicted of aggravated assault connected to an alleged road rage incident earlier this year was sentenced Wednesday.
Rashad Alton, 23, was convicted by a jury on Aug. 25 for third-degree felony aggravated assault after allegedly pointing a firearm at people in a car on Interstate 15 for cutting off the car he was a passenger in.
A pre-sentencing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident recommended Alton be placed on probation, noting his lack of any criminal history before the event.
Washington County Deputy Attorney Bryan Wheat called the recommendation generous, adding he felt Alton should serve time in jail for the severity of the crime.
“Frankly I consider this to be light,” 5th District Judge G. Michael Westfall said of the sentencing recommendation.
Westfall gave Alton an amended sentence of 60 days in the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility, to be followed by 36 months supervised probation. Alton has the possibility of being released earlier for good time, Westfall added. Alton was also ordered to complete community service hours at a rate of $6 per hour which could be applied to fines related to his sentence.
Alton was arrested on Feb. 11 following what has been described as a road rage incident on I-15. He was a passenger in a Honda Civic traveling on the highway through St. George and Washington when the car he was traveling in was forced over the rumble strips when it was cut off by a white Honda Accord.
Testimony given during the trial indicated the driver of the Civic sped up to pass the Accord. This is when Alton allegedly leaned out of the window and pointed a pistol at a couple in the Accord. The couple in the Honda contacted the police who later found and stopped the Civic in St. George. Testimony from the Civic’s driver and another passenger said Alton had actually pointed a phone at the Accord and not a gun.
The St. George Police officer who stopped the Civic reported finding a 9 mm handgun in the glove box that matched the description given by the couple in the Accord.
Alton was subsequently convicted by a jury of eight for third-degree felony assault.
Following the trial, defense attorney Edward Flint said the jury possibly convicted Alton because they potentially “saw a black man with a gun.” Though guns are commonplace in Utah, he said, when someone sees a black man with a gun, somehow it’s different.
Alton reports to the county jail Friday.
St. George News Reporter Aspen Stoddard contributed to this story.
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