ST. GEORGE — A suspect with a violent criminal history in Utah and Montana was arrested on several charges after officers responded to a hit-and-run crash reported near a residence on Main Street last week in St. George.
On Thursday afternoon officers responded to a single-vehicle crash on 200 S. Main Street in St. George to find a large section of fence dividing two residential properties extensively damaged with a large section that appeared to have been torn away lying on the ground, according to charging documents filed with the courts. Witnesses told officers the fence was damaged when the suspect, later identified as 36-year-old David Gingerich, crashed through it and then fled from the scene.
Officers spoke to the suspect who said when he pulled into the residence he realized there was an ice tea bottle that became lodged under the brake pedal, which prevented him from stopping the car as it crashed through the fence. He then drove off immediately after the incident without reporting it to police. The cost to repair the fence was estimated to be about $2,500, the report states. Police later learned that Gingerich had been trespassed from the property two days prior after allegedly harassing one of the tenants living there. When confronted, the suspect told police he didn’t believe he was actually trespassed, which is why he returned to the house on the day of the incident.
He was later arrested and transported to jail facing multiple charges, including harassment using an electronic communications device by inundating the resident’s cell phone with messages and calls sufficient to overload the device. He was also charged with causing an accident that resulted in property damage, criminal trespass and leaving the scene of an accident – each a misdemeanor.
The suspect was arrested at the same address the previous month following a family fight, one in which the suspect was reportedly struck by a vehicle.
Officers were told at the scene that Gingerich had moved out of the residence he shared with an ex-girlfriend in January and had returned on the night of the altercation, and according to the report, witnesses reported seeing Gingerich punching the windows and mirrors of a vehicle and kicking at the car doors, evidence of which was later discovered by authorities.
Gingerich was then struck by one of the vehicle’s rear-view mirrors when the driver pulled quickly away to avoid any further confrontation, according to the report.
Police say that following the altercation outside, the suspect kicked in the front door of the residence and punched the roommate in the face while demanding to use the man’s cell phone. The suspect also threatened to assault the roommate if he reported the incident to police, allegedly telling the man “it would be worse next time.”
During an interview, the report states, the suspect told officers he kicked in the door of the residence because he didn’t have a key, and then slapped the roommate “because he needed to use his phone” to call and report to police that he’d been hit by a car.
Officers also found an active warrant for the suspect’s arrest and he was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing second-degree felony burglary and third-degree felony retaliation against a witness, as well as multiple misdemeanors, including two counts each of assault and criminal mischief.
The officer also noted in the report that Gingerich’s criminal history included multiple arrests not only in Utah but also in Montana where he was arrested more than 20 times and had multiple cases and felony convictions.
One such case was filed in March 2017 in Ravalli County following an arrest outside of the Full Moon Saloon in Stevensville, Montana that took place Feb. 25.
The evening began when the suspect was drinking with a woman at another local bar that he had met on a popular dating site. When the suspect allegedly became disrespectful shortly after the date began, court records reveal, the woman left and went to another local bar with friends.
Shortly thereafter, the suspect went to the same bar where he and the woman became involved in a verbal altercation that was interrupted by two men who told the suspect to leave. When Gingerich allegedly refused, the men escorted him out of the bar, at which point the suspect punched one of the men in the mouth, knocking two of his teeth out, according to court records filed in Ravalli County District Court in Hamilton, Montana.
Gingerich was later arrested and charged with aggravated assault as well as drinking while on probation and other offenses.
In 2014 he was charged with use of a dangerous weapon, sexual intercourse without consent, persistent felony offender, tampering and other charges. He was sentenced to serve time in Montana State Prison and was released in 2015 after appearing before the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole in November that same year.
This report is based on information provided by law enforcement 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.
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