Judge sentences woman involved in truck, snowmobile theft

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

ST. GEORGE — The first of three defendants arrested in April for allegedly fleeing from police in a stolen truck was sentenced in court Thursday.

Sarah Dickinson, 28, appeared before 5th District Court Judge John J. Walton for sentencing in St. George after pleading guilty to one second-degree felony charge of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle and third-degree felony theft. As part of her plea deal, three remaining counts of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle were dismissed.

Dickinson was initially arrested April 13 on outstanding warrants by officers tending to an incident involving the theft of a snowmobile and utility trailer reported stolen six weeks prior.

The trailer was reportedly seen in the Dixie Downs area of St. George being pulled behind a Dodge pickup truck that was later found to be stolen as well.

A Utah Highway Patrol trooper traveling south on state Route 18 spotted the truck with the three suspects inside and performed a traffic stop on the vehicle. The suspects fled as the trooper approached, and after a short pursuit, the trailer was abandoned. Inside were three snowmobiles and a motorcycle, all of which had been reported stolen.

Dickinson was located later that night and arrested on the outstanding warrants. She provided police with information on the two other suspects, and charges relating to the snowmobile theft were added later once investigators determined she was also involved in the crime. Dickinson has remained in jail on $15,00 bail since her arrest.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, the state recommended the court follow the recommendations outlined in a presentence report submitted in the case that included 165 days in jail and 36-months probation.

L-R: Brian Knowlton, 41; Sarah Autumn Dickinson, 28; and Rodney Ian Watkins, 36 — the three suspects involved in an alleged vehicle theft. Booking photos posted in Washington County, Utah, April 16, 2019 | Photos courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Dickinson’s defense attorney, Caleb Cottam, addressed the court by saying his client is a resident of Washington State and would like to return home as soon as possible to be closer to her children. He requested his client be eligible to earn good behavior reductions, which would mean she could be released immediately.

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, Walton sentenced Dickinson to serve 165 days with credit for the 103 days she already served, but he ruled against any good behavior reductions, reminding the defendant that she pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony for which she could have been sent to prison.

Walton told Dickinson that if she wants to return to Washington State, she will need to arrange for an 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 authorities in Washington State where the defendant would serve out her sentence in order to be closer to her children. The additional time in custody would give the defendant the opportunity to make the necessary arrangements.

One of Dickinson’s co-defendants, 36-year-old Rodney Ian Watkins, pleaded guilty in June to three second-degree felony charges of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle. Three charges, including two counts of receiving/transferring a stolen vehicle and a theft by receiving charge were dismissed in accordance with the plea agreement. Watkins is scheduled to appear for sentencing Tuesday.

The third defendant, 41-year-old Brian Knowlton, failed to appear for arraignment last month, and a $50,000 warrant was issued for his arrest. The defendant is still at large as this report publishes.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!