Detained man escapes, steals patrol car, leading police on high-speed chase

WASHINGTON COUNTY – An 18-year-old Apple Valley man is facing a lengthy list of criminal charges after he managed to free himself from handcuffs while detained in the back of a patrol car early Saturday morning, climb behind the wheel of the patrol car and lead police on a lengthy high-speed chase.

Around 2:15 a.m. Saturday, a Hildale Police officer noticed a white truck with six occupants inside. When the driver of the truck saw the officer, the driver took off and sped away, according to a probable cause statement by the Hildale Police Department in support of the arrest.

James D. Bateman, of Apple Valley, Utah, booking photo posted July 25, 2015 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
James D. Bateman, of Apple Valley, Utah, booking photo posted July 25, 2015 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The officer caught up to the truck and initiated a traffic stop.

When the officer spoke with the driver of the truck, he noticed an open can of Bud Light beer in the driver’s cup holder, according to the statement, and could smell the odor of alcohol.

He then had the six occupants of the truck exit the vehicle and perform a preliminary breath test on a portable breathalyzer.

One of the truck’s occupants, identified as James D. Bateman, of Apple Valley, had a breath alcohol content of .187, the statement said. In the seat where Bateman was sitting, was an open bottle of Tennessee Whiskey, a bottle of 20/20 alcohol and a can of Bud Light, along with several items of drug paraphernalia.

“As I was handcuffing (the driver),” the arresting officer wrote in the statement, “James grabbed my gun belt. I twisted around and shoved him away. Then, James ran north on Midway Street.”

The officer requested back up and a police sergeant arrived. While the officer was briefing the sergeant about the situation, one of the female occupants of the truck also took off running and the sergeant ran after her.

While the sergeant was unable to locate the female, he was able to locate Bateman, the statement said. Another officer arrived on scene and assisted the sergeant in restraining Bateman.

Bateman was cuffed with zip tie cuffs and ankle shackles and put into a patrol car while police dealt with the other occupants of the truck, according to the statement. After a while, Bateman complained that the zip tie cuffs were hurting his wrists, so the sergeant removed them and put regular handcuffs on him – this time, with his hands in front instead of in back.

While the officers were speaking to the police chief about Bateman’s charges, they heard the horn of a patrol car, the statement said.

I started walking toward my patrol car when it started driving away into oncoming traffic and swerved onto the sidewalk,” the arresting officer wrote. “There were several bystanders on the sidewalk that had to jump out of the way of the car to avoid being run over by James.”

Bateman sped off in the officer’s patrol car, passing several vehicles, including one of the officers who was en route to the jail with the driver of the truck, according to the statement. The officer said Bateman was traveling west on Utah Avenue at approximately 100 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Pretty soon, Bateman had an officer, a sergeant and the police chief trailing behind him as he headed south on state Route 59. But Bateman continued on, fleeing south onto state Route 389 towards Fredonia, Arizona.

The police chase ended when Bateman decided to pull off the side of the road on SR-389 and stop near mile marker 27.5.

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

He was charged with second-degree felony theft; three third-degree felonies for escaping from custody, aggravated assault and failing to stop at the command of police; a class A misdemeanor for failing to stop at the command of law enforcement; five class B misdemeanors for driving under the influence of alcohol, alcohol restricted driver, possession of drug paraphernalia and minor consumption of alcohol; a class C misdemeanor for open container in vehicle; and an infraction for not having a valid driver’s license.

Judge Jeffrey Wilcox, of the 5th District Court, ordered $35,520 bail for Bateman’s release pending trial.

Bateman was found indigent by the court during his initial court appearance Monday and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Aric Cramer. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Aug. 3.

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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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 11:20 am

    i hope he’s got a ‘mormon get-out-of-jail-free-card’, otherwise known as a recommend.

  • sagemoon July 28, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Mad Dog 20/20? They still make that stuff? No wonder why these kids made bad choices. Mad Dog does that to your brain.

  • Free Parking July 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    LOL.. Mad Dog 20 / 20

  • beentheredonethat July 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Radio call: Dispatch, this is officer Barlow. My car was stolen. I’m going to ride with sergeant Barlow. When I get in I’m going to have to meet with lieutenant Barlow followed by chief Barlow. Over.

  • Ladyk July 28, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I think if you can afford to buy alachol and drive drunk you should have to pay for your own attorney. The taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.

  • Free Parking July 29, 2015 at 12:26 am

    LADY keep that in mind when you do something stupid and get arrested

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