After arrest in St. George, woman sentenced for stealing rental car from Denver International Airport

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

ST. GEORGE — A woman was sentenced Wednesday on charges stemming from her arrest in St. George for her part in stealing a rental car from the Denver International Airport.

Chanel Laren Wideman, 19, of Aurora, Colorado, appeared in 5th District Court before Judge G. Michael Westfall for sentencing after pleading guilty last month to two of five charges filed against her in April, including second-degree felony theft and third-degree felony possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

As part of her plea deal, three charges were dismissed, including one second-degree felony count of theft by receiving stolen property, third-degree felony possession with intent to distribute and one count of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

Wideman has been in custody since April 24, when a Utah Highway Patrol trooper pulled over 19-year-old Darrell Mitchell, 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 reportedly stolen from a rental car agency at the Denver International Airport.

The state recommended the court follow the recommendations outlined in a presentence report submitted in the case that included 120 days in jail and 36-months probation.

Prosecutor Rick Erickson said Wideman by all accounts knew what she was doing while committing the crimes, adding that “she is an intelligent young lady with a lot of potential.”

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

Wideman’s defense attorney, Ed Flint, said his client’s age should be considered, reminding the court that she is 19 years old. Flint said she dodged federal charges in the case primarily “because she is young and doesn’t have a long history of serious criminal problems.”

Flint agreed with the sentiment that Wideman has a great deal of potential, which will “help her do very well on probation.”

Flint said his client agreed to the terms of her plea deal with the stipulation that she get credit for 85 days of time served and requested that she be eligible for a good behavior time reduction. With that, he said, his client would be eligible for immediate release.

Wideman then addressed the court.

“I am truly remorseful and I feel that this was definitely a wake-up call for me,” she said. “I want to do better.”

Wideman told the court in June that 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.

The maximum sentence on the second-degree felony of 1-15 years in prison was stayed, as was the $10,000 fine. On the third-degree felony conviction, the maximum sentence of 0-15 years in prison and $5,000 fine were also stayed.

Instead, Westfall sentenced Wideman to 120 days with credit for time served but ruled against any good behavior reductions, saying the additional time in jail would allow her to arrange for the interstate compact — an agreement between two states that allows sentencing and supervision requirements to be transferred. In this case, those requirements would be transferred to Colorado authorities where the defendant will serve out her sentence in order to be closer to her children.

Westfall ruled that should the compact agreement be completed before her jail sentence is over, then she would be transferred to Colorado at that time. If not, then he said she “will be spending that time in jail in Utah.”

In addition to the jail term, she was placed on 36 months probation, will be required to obtain full-time employment or schooling upon her release and must complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment as well as a mental health evaluation. She was also ordered to obtain a GED or high school diploma, pay a $500 fine and complete a life-plan. Erickson suggested that Wideman complete a parenting class, which Westfall also ordered as part of her sentence.

Wideman’s co-defendant, Mitchell, 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 count of 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. His bail was reduced to $10,000, which he posted with a bail bonds company before his release. A plea by mail hearing is scheduled in 5th District Court Aug. 27 at 9 a.m.

This report is based on statements from police 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.

 

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

 

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