ST. GEORGE — A New York man who appeared in 5th District Court in St. George on charges involving a police pursuit will not be returning to his home state anytime soon, as he faces additional charges for offenses he allegedly committed while in custody in Utah.
Bryant Demelo, 31, of Willsboro, New York, appeared in court Wednesday for what was originally scheduled to be a sentencing hearing on a misdemeanor charge of failing to stop at an officer’s command.
Instead, the defendant appeared on four cases, including the original misdemeanor, a third-degree felony assault charge involving a fellow inmate reported last week, a third-degree felony charge of damaging the jail filed Monday and a felony fugitive warrant.
Demelo was originally arrested Sept. 5 after taking Utah Highway Patrol troopers on a 30-mile pursuit on Interstate 15 that began at mile marker 63 in Cedar City and ended at mile marker 21 just south of Leeds.
The pursuit was set in motion when a trooper attempted to stop Demelo as he was driving in a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze going nearly 100 mph on southbound I-15 near Cedar City. When Demelo refused to pull over, the chase was initiated and continued south, reaching speeds of 120 mph, according to charging documents filed with the court.
After more than 30 miles and on shredded tires, Demelo finally pulled the disabled car off the interstate and stopped, at which point he jumped out of the car and fled on foot. A passenger in the car, 32-year-old William Reno, of Plattsburg, New York, remained in the vehicle and was taken into custody at gunpoint.
Reno remained in jail awaiting extradition to New York on a felony warrant for allegedly running a methamphetamine lab out of his East Coast home.
Demelo was located and arrested hours later, and he was subsequently booked on the misdemeanor count of failure to stop at an officer’s command. Additional charges filed later in connection with the incident include one third-degree felony count of failing to stop at an officer’s signal, as well as misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia charges.
During Wednesday’s court proceedings, District Judge G. Michael Westfall gave Demelo’s defense attorney, Ed Flint, a choice on whether to proceed with the sentencing for the police pursuit case or initiate court proceedings on the newer charges.
Flint opted to go through with an initial appearance on the felony jail damage charge, which stemmed from an incident reported at Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane shortly before 11 p.m. Monday.
According to charging documents, a corrections officer observed Demelo wrap a towel around his face and climb on the toilet where he reached up and broke a sprinkler head, which sent a shower of water into the cell, causing it to become flooded to the point that water began leaking into the cell block.
When questioned about the incident, the defendant allegedly told the officers he wanted a shower and was not willing to wait until after a disciplinary hearing scheduled at the jail.
The scheduled disciplinary hearing the defendant reportedly wished to put off for a shower involved an incident that took place five days before. On Sept. 18, Demelo allegedly struck a fellow inmate while yelling “snitch” as the group was getting off the transport bus after returning to jail from the courthouse.
A corrections officer grabbed the defendant and separated the two inmates. Demelo was taken to his cell block with a “keep separate” order in place. He was later charged with third-degree felony assault on a prisoner “for being the aggressor,” according to charging documents.
He was also scheduled for a review hearing on a felony fugitive warrant out of New York, which Westfall set aside with three cases pending, saying Demelo “can’t be transported to anywhere right now.”
The fugitive warrant involves a felony case filed in Plattsburg, New York, where the defendant was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance. On Sept. 5, the Plattsburg City Court issued the no-bail warrant, which was sent to authorities in Washington County.
The defendant is scheduled to be back in court Oct. 2.
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