Wanted man with known criminal history hits police car while fleeing arrest

WASHINGTON CITY — Riley Joseph Guerrero, 20, previously arrested on charge of attempted homicide in St. George, allegedly hit a police car while attempting to evade arrest in Washington City Thursday night.

Authorities apprehend 20-year-old Riley Joseph Guerrero after he attempted to evade police in a Walmart parking lot in Washington City, Utah, July 27, 2017 | Photo by Nakavius Jaks, St. George News

Washington City Police responded to the incident at approximately 8:30 p.m. at the Walmart store located at 625 W. Telegraph St.

Watch video in the media player top of this report.

Detectives with the Washington County Drug Task Force working with agents from Adult Probation and Parole observed Guerrero driving in a silver GMC Envoy SUV near the McDonalds at 735 W. Telegraph St. in Washington City.

“They had located an individual that they have an outstanding warrant for and had requested one of our uniformed officers assist them in arresting the individual,” Washington City Police spokesman Ed Kantor told St. George News Thursday.

According to arresting documents, as the responding Washington City Police officer turned on his overhead lights to pull the suspect over, Guerrero allegedly sped away, driving over parking dividers and through a line of shopping carts, almost hitting another vehicle as he continued through the Walmart parking to the southeast side of the building.

Authorities respond after a man attempted to evade police in a Walmart parking lot in Washington City, Utah, July 27, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

As he continued north toward the back of the building, the arrest narrative states, he hit another Washington City Police car parked in the middle of the roadway head-on, which left both vehicles disabled.

Guerrero then reportedly ran from the wrecked car and tried to jump a chain link fence. As responding officers ordered him to stop, he continued to flee, at which point police deployed a Taser.  Guerrero fought with officers as they handcuffed him, according to arresting documents.

Guerrero was taken into custody and booked into jail on several charges, including evading, reckless driving, failure to stop at the command of a police officer and criminal mischief for the estimated $5,000-plus worth of damage caused in the wreck.

Drug Task Force detectives later charged Guerrero with additional felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after finding a substance in a syringe testing presumptively positive for methamphetamine in the SUV he was driving, along with a “glass meth pipe,” according to arresting documents.

Riley Joseph Guerrero, 20, was arrested after evading police in a Walmart parking lot July 27, 2017 | Photo courtesy Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The original warrant for his arrest was issued June 29 for probation violation after serving time for another probation violation stemming from June 2015 felony charges of aggravated assault and purchase, transfer, possession and/or use of a firearm by a restricted person, for which he pleaded guilty in August 2015.

The June 2015 charges related to what police believed to be a gang-related incident in which Guerrero allegedly shot another man in the torso in St. George. A warrant for attempted homicide was issued for his arrest at that time.

Read more: Police locate, arrest Guerrero for attempted homicide

The gunshot victim survived the assault and underwent surgery for his wounds. Guerrero was arrested days later after several people allegedly assisted him in evading capture, leading to 7 total arrests and 18 charges.

Several other agencies responded to assist at the scene at Walmart Thursday night, including Utah Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington City Fire Department and Gold Cross ambulance.

Deputy collides with another vehicle while responding ‘Code 3’

In a tangential incident, a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy was responding from St. George to back up the Washington Police when he collided with a blue passenger car at the intersection of West Sunset Boulevard and North Dixie Drive, St. George Police Sgt. Heidi Palmer said.

A Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy is involved in a collision in St. George while responding to the incident in Washington City, St. George, Utah, July 27, 2017 | Photo courtesy Jonathon Ben Hindes, St. George News

“This was an emergency call for assistance on an incident that was in progress,” Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Crouse said, “and the deputy was responding ‘Code 3,’ or with lights and sirens activated.”

Both cars were damaged, and Sheriff’s deputies took the injured deputy to the hospital.

The incident was recorded on dash-cam video which will be turned over to the St. George Police Department to assist in their accident investigation.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

St. George News reporter Cody Blowers contributed to this report from St. George.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • comments July 28, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Attempted murder and how low was the bail? This here is what we refer to as a ‘bad egg’. This fellow with likely never clean up his ways.

  • Mike Carter July 28, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    This is all far too common in southern Utah, let’s put a ton of innocent bystanders at risk in a Walmart parking lot, great plan. And the deputy responding from sunset and dixie, probably about a 15 minute drive with traffic responding. Really? I’m sure there was already half the force at walmart and suspect in custody but let’s risk civilian casualties to be a hero. Meanwhile, the injured deputy was taken to the hospital thank god, but the story makes no mention of the poor injured innocent person he crashed into while driving like a nut job. Poor people, police work at its finest here folks. Makes me sick.

    • Blumpking July 29, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      You know what they say about assuming…..

  • Law24 July 29, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    In this case, I would say it makes an @$$ out of him (Mr. Mike Carter) only.

  • Mike Carter July 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    What was assumed here? If something from my comment was wrong or assuming I apologize, but please advise.

    • ladybugavenger July 31, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I have no idea what those two commenters blumpkinlaw are talking about

  • ladybugavenger July 29, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    He’s been in bookings more than twice since that big incident in 2015. Still doing the meth I see. If I was his mom, I’d be requesting some harsh punishment.

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