Suspect arrested in stolen car after making wrong turn during police pursuit in Santa Clara

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 Cedar City man is in jail facing multiple felony charges after allegedly stealing a car in Washington City and getting arrested Tuesday evening when he turned onto a dead-end street during a pursuit with officers in Santa Clara.

Christian Patrick Bugg, 27, of Cedar City, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 21, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Christian Bugg, 27, was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing second-degree felony theft and five third-degree felony charges, including failure to stop or respond at command of police and four counts of unlawful acquisition of a financial transaction card, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.

He also faces six misdemeanor charges that include reckless driving, driving under the influence, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and giving false personal information to a peace officer.

The charges stem from an incident that began Tuesday in Washington City when a man called police shortly after 8:30 p.m. to report that his vehicle, a Honda Accord, was stolen from the parking lot at his place of employment.

The man said he arrived at work just before 2 p.m., and when he went outside six hours later, he discovered it was missing, at which point he called police.

“The parking lot had no surveillance cameras and there was no footage of the incident,” Washington City Police Lt. Kory Klotz said, “so the officers didn’t have much to work with at first.”

The car’s owner also told police that no one else was authorized to drive the vehicle and showed them the car keys he still had with him. Officers took a report and listed the vehicle as stolen in the national crime database, and an “attempt to locate” announcement was broadcast to all officers to watch for the car.

Meanwhile, a Santa Clara/Ivins Police officer noticed a car going 10 miles under the speed limit as it crossed over into the right shoulder on Pioneer Parkway near the corner of 400 East.

Map depicting area where traffic stop took place and the pursuit was initiated on Pioneer Parkway near 400 East in Santa Clara, Jan. 21, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

The officer initiated a traffic stop, but while the vehicle came to a complete stop initially, the driver pulled away at a high rate of speed as soon as the officer pulled up behind him. The officer pursued the suspect as reinforcements were called in.

The chase ended less than 3 miles from where it started after the suspect turned onto a cul-de-sac and became blocked in by multiple police units responding to the call.

“It’s likely this suspect was just unfamiliar with the area,” Santa Clara/Ivins Police Sgt. Reid Briggs said. “So when he turned, he had no idea he was heading into that dead-end street until it was too late.”

During the arrest, the suspect identified himself using someone else’s name; however, after a records check, police were able to accurately identify the suspect as Bugg, who was checked out by emergency medical personnel at the scene after reporting he was injured.

During questioning, officers noticed signs of possible drug or alcohol use and administered a field sobriety test, which Bugg reportedly failed.

Prior to impound, officers searched the vehicle and found a wallet containing four bank cards with other individuals’ names. Bugg told police he didn’t know where the cards came from or how they ended up in his possession.

Back in Washington City, officers were notified less than an hour after taking the stolen vehicle report that the suspect was in custody and the Honda had been recovered.

“The suspect also said that a friend loaned him the car,” Klotz said, but when the officers from Washington City went to the jail to speak with Bugg, “he just told them he wasn’t going to answer any questions and asked for a lawyer.”

Bugg remains in custody on $39,220 bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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