Washington City Police engage in 2 separate pursuits in 2 days involving wrong-way driver, stolen truck

Stock image by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A LaVerkin man is in custody after taking police in Washington City on a pursuit in an allegedly stolen vehicle, crashing into fences and running lights until the chase ended with the suspect being arrested at gunpoint early Tuesday morning. The incident was the second pursuit by Washington City police since Sunday.

Dylan Race Gibson, 33, of LaVerkin, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Oct. 6, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Tuesday’s incident began shortly before midnight, when an officer observed a white Chevrolet pickup truck that failed to come to a stop before making a right turn onto 200 West in Washington City.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the officer began following the truck as it sped up. When the officer activated his lights, the driver failed to stop, instead speeding away and blowing through an intersection without stopping.

The truck continued along 400 South until the road turned into a dead end, at which point the driver continued down a dirt road on private property, the officer stated in his report.

The truck crashed through a locked gate and then ran over it as the driver continued to evade the multiple police units that were pursuing the suspect by then.

Once the road narrowed to the point that patrol units could no longer continue, the officer got out and headed on foot toward where the pickup was last seen. Seeing tail lights in the distance, the officer realized the truck was stopped and appeared to be stuck. He continued toward the pickup, drew his weapon and ordered the suspect out of the vehicle.

The suspect, later identified as 33-year-old LaVerkin resident Dylan Race Gibson, exited the truck through the passenger side door and was taken into custody by police. During the pursuit, the officer ran the license plate through emergency dispatch and discovered the pickup was reported stolen, so once the driver was in custody, an inventory of the pickup was conducted prior to impound.

While inventorying the contents, officers recovered a plastic baggie of what appeared to be marijuana, as well as a small plastic baggie that contained a white crystal substance consistent with methamphetamine. In the door panel were several used syringes that contained residual brown liquid that appeared to be heroin, and in the center console was a zipper pouch containing tooter straws and other drug paraphernalia.

Officers also found several cans of beer inside of the pickup and noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from Gibson while speaking with him.

During the interview, the suspect allegedly told officers he was not driving the car during the pursuit but rather a friend, the officer noted in the report, adding that Gibson said the friend ran off before officers arrived. When asked for the name of the friend, the suspect said he was unable to remember his last name. Gibson also denied that any of the narcotics in the vehicle belonged to him.

Through the course of the investigation, officers determined that the suspect’s statements involving a second suspect were inconsistent with the evidence found at the scene.

Gibson was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility shortly before 1:30 a.m. and booked into jail facing second-degree receive or transfer of a stolen vehicle and third-degree felony failure to stop or respond at command of police. He also faces six misdemeanor charges that include two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, criminal mischief and driving on a suspended license.

The suspect remains in custody and is being held without bail, as there is “clear and convincing evidence” that Gibson would constitute a substantial danger to the community or is likely to flee the court’s jurisdiction if released, according to the bail order filed in 5th District Court.

Cecilio Lopez Cruz, 47, of Washington City, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Oct. 5, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Two days earlier, officers in Washington City were involved in a short pursuit with a wrong-way driver that began when a Honda Accord was reportedly traveling west on Buena Vista in the eastbound lane of traffic, heading in the direction of one of the officer’s patrol vehicles. The pursuit was terminated when officers learned from a records check that the Honda’s owner lived “right up the street,” the officer noted in the statement.

When officers arrived at the address listed for the vehicle, they found the Honda parked in the driveway with a woman sitting in the driver’s seat; however, once the suspect, identified as 47-year-old Cecilio Lopez Cruz, came outside of the residence, the officer recognized him as the actual driver of the car.

Cruz advised the officer that he did not stop for police because he became scared when he saw the “red and blue lights.” He said he had no driver’s license but handed the officer his passport.

The suspect allegedly failed the field sobriety test and was transported to jail facing felony evading and DUI charges, as well as driving without a license and failing to stop at a stop sign. He remains in custody on $1,420 bail.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 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, 2020, all rights reserved.

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