Deputies say drunk suspect led them on 10-mile pursuit so he ‘could put his dog away’

In this 2020 file photo for illustrative purposes only Iron County Sheriff's Deputies and Cedar City Police respond to Interstate 15 just south of Parowan, Iron County, Utah, Aug. 23, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Cedar City man was arrested after a low-speed pursuit with Iron County Sheriff’s deputies that started on northbound Interstate 15 and ended at the suspect’s residence about 10 miles away where he told police “he needed to put his dog away.”

2015 file photo of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar City, Utah, April 15, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News / Cedar City News

On Thursday afternoon, an Iron County Sheriff’s deputy noticed a pickup truck traveling at a high rate of speed and also observed the truck veering out of its lane as the driver appeared to be unable to maintain his lane of travel as the pickup continued north on Interstate 15.

The deputy got behind the truck and activated his emergency lights and siren as the pickup exited the interstate in Cedar City.

At that point, “the driver motioned to me that he knew I was behind him but he was going to keep going,” the deputy noted in the report.

Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser told St. George News the driver put his arm out of the truck and appeared to be motioning the deputy to follow him.

The pickup proceeded to turn onto 200 North to Airport Road as additional units were called in to assist. Once the truck turned west onto Bulldog Road there were three police units in tow with their lights and sirens going.

Once the truck turned onto 2400 North, officers deployed spike strips which deflated the front driver’s side tire, but instead of stopping the truck it continued east on 2400 North. Once it reached 400 West, the truck traveled south for a short distance and then pulled into a residence and stopped.

The suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Josh Mackert, pulled into his own residence, Schlosser said, and was taken into custody, at which point he told the deputies he didn’t pull over because he needed to get home to put his dog away. He also mentioned to authorities that he didn’t pull over for fear they would impound his truck.

Schlosser also said that Mackert stopped at all stop signs and did not go over the speed limit during the pursuit that went on for about 10 miles.

As the suspect spoke, the deputies detected a strong odor of alcohol and Mackert was transported to the Iron County Jail where he was given a field sobriety test, one in which he allegedly failed, the report states.

Stock photo. | Photo by Aijohn784/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

When the breathalyzer was administered, it revealed the suspect had a blood alcohol content of .228 – more than four times the legal limit in Utah, which Schlosser said may have had something to with the suspect’s decision-making capabilities that day.

Officers also discovered that Mackert was driving on an alcohol-restricted license, had no insurance and the truck’s registration was revoked. When deputies searched the truck, they allegedly recovered an open bottle of beer.

The restricted license originated from a 2018 DUI arrest. In that case, the suspect was stopped shortly after 3 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2018 and during the field sobriety test, Mackert told the deputy he couldn’t complete the test because he was “too drunk” and did not “want to waste the officer’s time.”

He entered a “no contest” plea the following year. He then successfully completed the terms of his probation and the case was closed two weeks ago.

Following Thursday’s arrest, the suspect was booked into jail facing third-degree felony failing to stop or respond at command of police as well as four misdemeanor charges for DUI, driving on a restricted license, no insurance and for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.

This report is based on preliminary 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.


Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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