Suspect accused of evading officers in St. George faces multiple charges

ST. GEORGE — Police said a suspect, involved in a pursuit days before was arrested and charged with felony evading, told authorities she did not stop because the officer turned off his lights and siren – leading her to believe the incident was over.

File photo of the Dixie Center St. George. St. George Utah, July 22, 2013 | Photo by Samantha Tommer, St. George News

Last Sunday morning, an officer noticed a white 2015 Nissan Versa parked in the Dixie Center St. George parking lot with the rear driver’s side door open shortly before 9 a.m., according to charging documents filed with the court.

The officer became suspicious and ran the license plate which revealed the car was wanted in connection with a previous evading incident with another St. George Police officer.

The evading incident involved a suspect that matched the physical description of the woman inside of the Nissan parked at the convention center on Sunday and who was later identified as 44-year-old Katie Griffin of St. George.

The officer involved in the previous incident with the suspect also documented several traffic violations during the short pursuit, including speeding and weaving in and out of traffic – so much so the suspect nearly caused a collision. At that point, the pursuing officer terminated the chase due to the risk to public safety and no arrest was made.

With the information of the prior pursuit, the officer requested backup at the Dixie Center May 2. Once the second officer arrived, they both pulled into the parking lot and stopped in front of the Nissan, blocking the car in.

Officers approached Griffin, who was standing near the open trunk with a large flat piece of glass in her hand and according to the report, when the officers stated they needed to talk to her and that she was being detained, she began to argue and immediately asked for a lawyer.

With the suspect allegedly refusing to put the glass down and her being the only suspect in the pursuit reported days before, she was placed under arrest.

Officers said the suspect resisted as they were trying to handcuff her, pulling away from police until they were able to detain her.

Since the suspect requested an attorney prior to being read her Miranda warnings, the officer read the suspect her rights and asked if she wanted to speak to police.

The report also states that Griffin told the officer she would speak to him but said she “may not answer any questions,” the officer noted.

In this 2020 file photo for illustrative purposes only police respond to an incident in the Dixie Downs area of St. George, Utah, Oct. 23, 2020 | Photo by Alexa Morgan, St. George News

During the interview, the suspect told police she fled from the officer during the earlier pursuit, but said when the emergency lights and siren were turned off she didn’t think she had to stop, and she also told them she ran because she “did not trust the police.”

“Due to the report and her admission, I explained to Katie she was officially under arrest for evading and reckless driving,” the officer noted, at which point the suspect dropped to the ground and laid flat on the asphalt in the parking lot and screamed and yelled at police.

She continued yelling and told officers she was not going back to jail and after several minutes she was escorted to the patrol vehicle and transported to jail without incident.

On Monday, Griffin was charged with third-degree felony evading and two misdemeanor charges for interfering with an arrest and reckless driving.

This is not the first resisting arrest case filed against the suspect.

On Feb. 5 officers were dispatched to an apartment complex on North Quail Ridge Drive on an agency assist call involving an eviction.

According to charging documents filed in 5th District Court, a constable service was attempting to evict Griffin from the property and after giving her 30 minutes to collect her belongings, the suspect refused to leave.

Officers were provided the order signed by District Judge K. Barnes three days prior ordering the tenant to vacate immediately, and also authorized the constable to remove the tenant by force if they failed to do so.

Officers entered the residence and found Griffin lying on the bed covered in a blanket.

The officers also reinforced the order to vacate and told Griffin she needed to leave, commands the suspect refused, telling the officers there was no authority to force her to vacate, nor were there any “valid” courts that existed in St. George.

When one of the sergeants explained to Griffin that it was a lawful order and that she needed to get out of the bed and get her things, the suspect allegedly started yelling for everyone to get out of the home.

Officers continued to try and work with Griffin to help her vacate the residence, the report stated, and despite being “asked, told and given multiple opportunities and extra time to gather her belongings,” the officer noted, she continued to refuse the order.

When advised that officers would have to forcefully remove her if she refused to comply with the order, she remained in the bed and refused to leave – at which point she was told she was under arrest.

During the arrest, the suspect allegedly started kicking and screaming as she flailed about and once they got the suspect to her feet, she backed up and went limp, refusing to walk. As the officers carried the suspect towards the door she began fighting them, which is when a second officer pulled his patrol vehicle closer to the front door of the residence and intervened.

The suspect was booked into jail and later charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass, interfering with arresting officer and an infraction for disorderly conduct. The case is still pending in the courts.

In a 2017 case, the suspect was charged and later convicted of felony theft by deception for admittedly stealing more than $4,000 from a previous employer in Salt Lake City by charging personal items on the company’s credit card.

She was placed on 36 months probation and ordered to pay more than $4,200 in restitution during a hearing held in June 2019.

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 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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