Woman pleads guilty to stealing rental car from Denver Airport

5th District Courthouse, St. George, Utah, date not specified | File photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Colorado woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in 5th District Court to three felonies stemming from her arrest in April in St. George for her part in stealing a rental car from the Denver International Airport.

Chanel Laren Wideman, 19, of Aurora, Colo. booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, April 24, 2019, | Photos courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Chanel Wideman, 19, of Aurora, Colorado, appeared in 5th District Court before Judge G. Michael Westfall for an arraignment hearing where she pleaded guilty to two of the five charges filed against her, including a second-degree felony theft count and third-degree felony possession of a firearm by a restricted person, after admitting to knowing there was a firearm and a controlled substance in the vehicle of which she was a passenger at the time of her arrest.

Wideman has been in custody since April 24, when a UHP trooper pulled over Darrell Mitchell, 19, of Denver, Colorado, for driving 93 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 15 near milepost 3 in St. George.

Troopers allegedly found prescription pills and a firearm during a search of the Chrysler 300 that Mitchell and Wideman were traveling in, a vehicle that was stolen from a rental car agency at the Denver International Airport.

Read more: Couple in jail after UHP stops rental car stolen from Denver airport

During Wednesday hearing, Wideman told the court that she has not been in contact with her attorney since the initial interview, and said the fact that she is not a Utah resident but is in jail here is an issue being overlooked as she appears for one hearing after another.

Defense attorney Ed Flint responded by saying he has more than 270 open public defender cases right now, including those involving robbery, murder and other crimes, and said the defendant was correct in saying he hasn’t returned calls.

“With 277 cases I don’t know what the court wants me to do here,” Flint said.

Flint told St. George News on Thursday that the defendant’s family has “blown up his phone,” but attorney-client contact can only be made through email so that he can keep his public defender cases straight – a detail he made very clear to the defendant during their meeting at the jail. He also said the calls related primarily to reducing the bail amount, which the state is unwilling to do.

Wideman told the court she has been away from her children since the arrest in April,  adding that the children’s father was recently sent to prison, making her return to Colorado even more urgent. Wideman requested that she be released on her own recognizance or that her bail be reduced.

Judge Westfall told the defendant the $20,000 bail amount stands, as she is not a resident of Utah and the state has reason to believe she would fail to appear for sentencing should she be released.

Flint requested the issue be discussed at Wideman’s sentencing hearing in July.

Darrell Diamond Mitchell, 19, of Denver, Colo. booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, April 24, 2019, | Photos courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Wideman’s co-defendant, Darrell Mitchell, 19, of Denver, Colorado, was also charged with second-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property, as well as two third-degree felonies – one count of possession of a firearm by a restricted person and one for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance – along with misdemeanor drug possession and speeding.

Mitchell appeared in 5th District Court before Judge Eric Ludlow the day after the arrest, and his bail was reduced to $10,000, which he posted with a bail bonds company and was released.

He failed to appear for a hearing four days later, and a warrant was issued for his arrest that was later recalled May 7 when Mitchell appeared in court. During the hearing the defendant advised the court he would retain his own attorney and is scheduled to return to court for a review hearing June 18.

Wideman remains in jail on $20,000 bail and is scheduled for a sentencing hearing July 17.

Editor’s note: The defendant pleaded guilty to two of the five charges, as one of the second-degree felony theft charges was also dismissed per the plea agreement.

This report is based on court records and interviews 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.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.


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