ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was arrested Thursday after allegedly running into a man with a truck, hitting him in the head with a gun and threatening to kill him before leaving him covered in blood lying in the road. A second man was also arrested for obstruction of justice for his involvement in the ordeal.
Officers responded to the scene where a motorist had reportedly found a man lying in the road near a farm and covered in blood, according to a probable cause statement written by St. George Police Detective Choli Ence in support of the arrest. When officers arrived, they discovered a man covered in blood, bleeding from a gash in the back of his head.
The man was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George to be treated for his injuries. When police processed the scene, the statement said, they found a white cellphone lying in the dirt, a vodka bottle, liquid fertilizer and tire marks on the side of the road where it appeared a vehicle had turned sharply and peeled out.
When detectives went to the hospital to interview the man, they learned 31-year-old Ramon Alejandro Gonzalez was the person who assaulted him, according to the statement, and that the bloody ordeal reportedly began with an argument over smoking marijuana.
When the man refused to smoke marijuana with Gonzalez and told him he didn’t want to drink anymore beer with him, an argument ensued, according to the statement of probable cause. When the man went to leave the small gathering at a residence on a farm, Gonzalez became upset and ran into the man with a green farm truck.
“(The man) said (Gonzalez) then got out of the truck and pointed a .22 caliber handgun at his head and told him he was going to kill him,” Ence wrote in the statement. “(Gonzalez) then hit (the man) in the back of his head with the handgun causing his head to bleed.”
At that point, the man said he ran towards the road, the statement said. As he tried to call police, another man at the gathering, identified as 56-year-old Gregg Edwin Preston, of Washington, knocked his cellphone out of his hand and threw a bottle of vodka at him, hitting him in the back.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, officers saw Gonzalez in a nearby field changing the water, and detained him.
“When I arrived, I observed obvious blood on the hood of the truck (Gonzalez) was driving,” Ence wrote. “I also noted a similar kind of liquid fertilizer bottle in the bed of the truck. Under Miranda, (Gonzalez) admitted he had assaulted (the man) after (the man) called his wife.”
Gonzalez denied he had used a gun or hit the man with the truck, the statement said. He denied owning a gun, and said he had previously owned a .22 caliber rifle, but had pawned it long ago.
Gonzalez then voluntarily consented to allow police to search his residence. When detectives went inside an old trailer Gonzalez said he lived in, Ence said it was obvious the trailer was not being lived in.
“When questioned, (Gonzalez) admitted he had lied,” Ence said. He then allowed detectives to search the residence where he was actually living. During the search, .22 caliber ammunition was found on a dresser inside the home.
While talking with detectives, Gonzalez admitted he had been drinking with the injured man, Preston and another man who had already gone home.
Police then went to the trailer where Preston was staying and woke him up, the statement said. When questioned, Preston denied knowing the injured man. He said he had been sleeping the whole night and had not been drinking with Gonzalez.
Based on the injured man’s and Gonzalez’s statements and corroborating evidence, both Gonzalez and Preston were arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Gonzalez was charged with a third-degree felony for aggravated assault, and a class C misdemeanor for intoxication.
Preston was charged with a class A misdemeanor for obstruction of justice since he was present when the incident occurred and either witnessed or was directly involved in the altercation, the statement said, and a class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia as a marijuana pipe was found in his pocket during booking.
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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