Handcuffed suspect tries to elude police by running through a mile of lava rocks

Santa Clara-Ivins Police vehicle, location unspecified, July 11, 2018 | File photo courtesy of the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE A Santa Clara man ran through more than a mile of lava rocks during a foot chase with police, sustaining multiple injuries that required a trip to the hospital before he was booked into jail after an incident that began with a revoked bond and a bail agent.

Booking photo of Ernest Lugan, of Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah, Oct. 23, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Ernest G. Lugan was arrested Tuesday afternoon on multiple third-degree felony offenses, including two counts of drug possession and one count for escaping custody. He also faces one count of drug possession and one count for possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors.

The arrest stemmed from a bail bond company requesting police assistance, Santa Clara-Ivins Police Sgt. Jaron Studley said. The bond agent went to a residence in the 2500 block of Canyon View Drive to pick up Britney Christensen on a revoked bond and several warrants.

The agent became suspicious when the man who answered the door, later identified as Troy Askee, said that no one by that name was at the residence nor did he know anyone by that name, Studley said.

“This was after the bail bond company received credible information that Christensen was possibly hiding out at that residence,” he added.

Santa Clara/Ivins Police officers responded and spoke with Askee, who allowed them inside the residence and consented to a search for Christensen, who was found hiding in one of the rooms and surrendered to police without incident, according to police.

The Washington County Drug Task Force was called in and began a separate investigation after officers observed paraphernalia and other items associated with drug activity during the search for Christensen.

Map depicting approximate route suspect took while fleeing from officers, Santa Clara, Utah, Oct. 23, 2018 | Image courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

Askee and Lugan were arrested for alleged drug offenses and both were being detained outside of the residence as the search inside continued.

Meanwhile, Lugan jumped up and and started running north in the direction of Pioneer Parkway  and directly into a stretch of lava rocks that extended for miles.

The suspect continued running through the lava rocks from Canyon View Drive to Lava Cove Drive where he was spotted by officers several minutes later.

Lugan “ran all the way up through those lava rocks for at least a mile before he was spotted,” Studley said, adding that police found him ducking behind several large rocks with injuries “everywhere.”

“By the time officers found him he was all cut up and still handcuffed,” he said.

Lugan was transported to the hospital where he was treated  “for injuries he sustained during his own expedition that had nothing to do with the arrest,” Studley said.

He was transported and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility.

The Santa Clara/Ivins Police Department, Washington County Drug Task Force, St. George Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the search.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • DRT October 24, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    I suppose the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for his medical costs. SMH

    • sheepobserver October 25, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Yeah, but it’s almost kind of worth it. hehe

      Can’t imagine frantically running through lava rock while handcuffed.

      This story needs some after pictures of the suspect.

  • Carpe Diem October 25, 2018 at 8:52 am

    He just needs a couple slaps across the face and a box of bandaids. Perfect that he chose to run across the meat grinder wearing cuffs, tripping and face planting on those sharp black rocks. Bet his arms are going to be scarred up real nice, a good souvenir, wont need to get a tattoo to memorialize the good times. What fun! Ohhh the adrenaline. Got away from those pesky cops for a few minutes! WOW what a genius. Hey, rent is due next week homie!

    • DRT October 25, 2018 at 11:27 am

      He don’t need to worry about no rent. Three hots and a cot. Not a care in the world…

      • Carpe Diem October 25, 2018 at 2:26 pm

        Yahbut all his dope and gear. Guess the gear will be at the DI before too long. oopsy

  • Carpe Diem October 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Bad boy, bad boy, watcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boy!

  • KR567 October 25, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Didn’t put a lot of thought into his escape plan did he ? HA HA

  • Pa Triot October 26, 2018 at 5:31 am

    As the old saying goes: The difference between intelligence and stupidity is……..there’s a limit to intelligence!”

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