Police find Hurricane man passed out in car with engine running and handgun on seat

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Hurricane man was arrested early Monday morning after gas station employees noticed a car still running in the parking lot with an unconscious man and a handgun located inside.

Jared Rulon Jessop, 34, of Hurricane, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, March 23, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Jared Jessop, 34, was arrested after officers responded to a report of an unresponsive male shortly before 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Charging documents filed with the court include witness reports from the scene stating that the man was sitting in the driver’s seat unconscious with the car still running and a handgun located on the passenger’s seat within reach of the driver.

Hurricane Police Officer Ken Thompson said that station employees told responding officers the car was in the parking lot for nearly an hour when it was called in to police.

Officers arrived and spoke to the man, later identified by his Utah driver’s license as Jessop, and asked him if he would submit to a field sobriety test after reportedly detecting a strong odor of alcohol coming from the suspect, who also had bloodshot eyes and slowed, slurred speech.

The officer noted in his report that Jessop told police the test was not needed because he had drank alcohol.

Nonetheless, a field sobriety test was administered, which police say the suspect failed and he was taken into custody for DUI.

During the search following the arrest, officers located a white box labeled as a THC product that was still sealed in the suspect’s left pocket that allegedly contained a single THC e-cigarette cartridge.

On the passenger seat of the vehicle, they also found a Glock semi-automatic pistol. A records check revealed the suspect was restricted from having the firearm due to a prior drug conviction.

Thompson said that while the suspect did not shed any light on why the gun was out in the open and within reach to begin, it did not appear the man intended to harm himself with it.

However, Jessop now faces third-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person since the arresting officer determined the suspect had direct access to the firearm that was “well within his reach and he knew the pistol was present in the vehicle,” the affidavit says.

A warrant was obtained to take a blood sample from the suspect after he refused to allow officers to do so, and the samples were later sent to the crime lab for analysis.

The suspect was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked on the gun, possession of a controlled substance and DUI offenses. He has since been released from jail.

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

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