ST. GEORGE — A Utah man is facing a felony abuse charge after reportedly abandoning his disabled adult son, who functions at the level of 2-year-old, on the side of a busy freeway.
Steven Warner Cuff, 66, of Sandy, was charged in 3rd District Court Tuesday with second-degree felony aggravated abuse of a disabled adult.
The charge stems from a Dec. 6, 2017, incident in which authorities responded to multiple calls about a man who appeared to be handicapped standing on the shoulder of Interstate 215 in Salt Lake County, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Utah Highway Patrol in support of the charge.
“Several of the callers stated that the male looked like he might walk into traffic,” the report states.
A trooper responded to the area and found the man standing on the freeway, looking as if he was waiting for a chance to cross safely, according to the statement. The man told the trooper his father, Steven Cuff, had dropped him off there.
Troopers located Cuff’s address and took the man to the home, but no one answered the door, the report states. When the trooper called Cuff, he “did not sound concerned for (the man) and stated he’d be there shortly.”
Cuff arrived home and told police the man is his 36-year-old adopted son who has the mentality of a 2-year-old, according to the statement.
“Defendant Cuff admitted that he intentionally dropped (his adopted son) off on the freeway and left him there,” the trooper wrote in the statement. “Defendant Cuff stated that he and his wife no longer want (their adopted son) and also stated that (the disabled man) does not know how to cross the road safely.”
Cuff did not indicate he had any intention of going back and picking up his disabled son and again stated “he didn’t want (his adopted son),” the report states.
While officers were interviewing Cuff, troopers asked the disabled man to go into the home, the report states. Cuff stepped behind the man “and with both hands pushed him with as much force as he could muster towards the house and told him to go inside.”
Medical personnel evaluated the man and told authorities he is classified as “severely intellectually disabled and is unable to provide for his own safety.”
A warrant was issued Tuesday for Cuff’s arrest with bail set in the amount of $50,000.
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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