Woman allegedly claims to have COVID-19 after being arrested for stolen vehicle

Stock image | Photo by Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — A woman allegedly began coughing on deputies, claiming to have the coronavirus, after being arrested for vehicle theft.

Kristy Barker was arrested Wednesday by an Iron County Sheriff’s deputy on five charges: second-degree felony theft of an operable vehicle, class B misdemeanor criminal mischief, class B misdemeanor theft, class C misdemeanor open container or drinking alcohol in a vehicle and class A misdemeanor propelling a substance at an officer.

Sheriff’s Office Lt. Del Schlosser said deputies responded to a report of a stolen vehicle. Barker was allegedly with the vehicle when it was located at the Rodeway Inn in Cedar City. The owner of the vehicle told deputies Barker did not have permission to drive the vehicle and asked that it be listed as stolen.

According to the probable cause statement, Barker began coughing on deputies while in a patrol vehicle.

“During the process of the arrest, she started coughing and spitting on them — to where they had to take measures to keep her from spitting on them — and claimed to be possibly positive for COVID-19,” Schlosser said.

Booking photo of Kristy Barker, Cedar City, Utah, April 8, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff’s Department, St. George News

Deputies found several food items and open beer containers inside the vehicle and discovered the driver door window was broken. When the owner of the vehicle was contacted after deputies located it, the owner reported there were no personal items in the vehicle, only the vehicle’s paperwork, and that everything was working properly on the vehicle.

Barker was taken to the Cedar City Hospital to be tested for COVID-19 and was placed in an isolated cell in the Iron County Jail.

“She was placed in an isolation cell to take precaution,” Schlosser said.

Schlosser said the virus is a concern for the Sheriff’s Office, and deputies are taking precautions.

“The officers all have families and they have homes that they would typically be going home to and possibly bringing that home with them, so that’s obviously a concern,” Schlosser said. “We’ve taken some measures to protect them and protect their families due to this possible exposure. As we move through this, it’s just one of those things that is ever-changing, and what we do is changing.”

Schlosser added the Sheriff’s Office still has a responsibility to the community.

“We still have a duty and responsibility to the citizens, which means that we still have a job to do,” he said.

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

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