Driver tells officers he was ‘kidnapped’ in stolen van during DUI arrest

Composite image with background image by Thea Design/iStock/Getty Images Plus; overly stock image by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A driver suspected of DUI was arrested on felony theft after crashing a van he is suspected of stealing during a traffic stop on Red Cliffs Drive.

Darius Moody, 31, of Washington City, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 14, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday, an officer was patrolling Red Cliffs Drive when two vehicles passed by – a black car and a white van that appeared to be speeding. The officer pulled out and headed east behind the two vehicles.

The officer then noticed that the black vehicle was following closely behind the van, and then the car passed the van and got directly in front of it, according to charging documents filed with the court.

The officer also noticed that, within the span of less than a minute, he observed the van cross the center line multiple times, which is when the officer decided to pull the vehicle over.

As soon as the van was stopped, the driver, 31-year-old Darius Moody of Washington City, immediately got out of the vehicle and told the officer that he’d been kidnapped and “didn’t want to get shot,” the officer noted in the report.

The officer also noticed the driver was slurring his speech and detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath.

The suspect immediately lied down on the ground and placed his hands behind his head telling the officer “to take him to jail.”

Just then, the driver of a vehicle pulled into the parking lot told the officer the suspect on the ground had gotten into an accident with the black vehicle that the officer had noticed was following the van minutes before the traffic stop.

The officer was able to determine that a collision had occurred according to statements taken during the stop. Moody had not wanted to get police involved so the black vehicle was following him to another location to exchange information when the two vehicles were spotted by police.

The driver of the black vehicle also told police that she thought “something was off” about the suspect.

When asked, the suspect refused to perform a field sobriety test and was arrested for suspected driving under the influence. Initially, he refused a breathalyzer test and was transported to St. George Regional Hospital, where officers were going to draft a warrant for a blood draw.

But when the suspect realized he may be stuck with a needle, the officer noted, he immediately complied with the breathalyzer test. The report states the test revealed he was over the legal limit to drive.

A background check revealed the suspect was a restricted driver from a previous DUI case filed in October and was driving on a suspended license when the crash and subsequent traffic stop occurred.

The suspect was transported to Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges of misdemeanor DUI, driving on a suspended license, having an open container of alcohol and a lane travel citation.

Moody was also booked on felony theft, which Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum said was filed due to the suspect allegedly being in a stolen van at the time of the incident. The suspect had taken the keys to the vehicle without permission and when the owner realized the van was gone, they reported it to authorities.

The suspect remains in custody at the writing of this report.

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, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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