California man in jail when ‘small road rage incident’ leads to crash and felony charge

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A California man is in jail following an alleged road rage incident that resulted in a crash near Telegraph Road in Hurricane earlier this month and a subsequent investigation wrought with inconsistent statements and reports made to authorities both in Utah and Arizona.

2020 stock photo for illustrative purposes only of a Hurricane Police patrol vehicle at a crash on State Street, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 30, 2020 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

The arrest stems from an incident reported Sept. 8, when an injury crash was reported on West State Street in Hurricane involving a maroon Dodge Durango and a Honda passenger car.

An officer who was on Old Highway 91 was dispatched to the crash, and while en route, he noticed a Durango turning left on Telegraph, with a Honda following directly behind the SUV with its rear bumper cover hanging off.

Believing the vehicles were involved in the dispatched crash, the officer stopped and spoke to the Honda driver, who confirmed he was involved in a crash with the Dodge that had reportedly left the scene without stopping.

The officer began canvassing the area near Telegraph Street in search of the Dodge when he noticed a line of what appeared to be fluid that had leaked from a vehicle. He followed the trail to a subdivision just west of Razor Ridge Park in Washington City and found the Dodge unoccupied at the end of a dead-end road near the complex. The officer also noticed the Dodge had front-end damage and was still leaking fluid.

Officers were unable to locate the driver at that time.

Meanwhile, the Dodge was photographed prior to impound, which is when the officer located several documents addressed to 23-year-old Ali Hasan Abdullah, of Porterville, California, including a traffic citation issued to the suspect in Arizona three days prior.

Through the course of the investigation, the officer spoke to the Honda driver again, who said he had been in a “small road rage incident with the Durango and flipped off the Durango driver,” the officer noted in the report.

He also said after the exchange, the Durango driver pulled behind the Honda and intentionally crashed into the back of the Honda at a high rate of speed before driving off, likely totaling it.

Officers spoke to a second witness who said they observed the Durango on Interstate 15 heading toward Hurricane in a reckless manner. He added that he had witnessed the crash, saying the driver “gunned it” and crashed into the Honda.

Then officers received a call from an employee of the towing company where the Dodge was being stored for impound, who told them the owner was trying to pick up the SUV. The employee said the man had a title that listed Abdullah as the vehicle’s owner.

According to the employee, Abdullah told them he had reported the Dodge as stolen, and he still had both sets of keys to the SUV.

When the suspect was told the SUV could not be driven since it had lost all of its transmission fluid, the suspect said he knew “because it was low the other night.”

Stock photo for illustrative purposes only of Interstate 15 exit into Littlefield, Arizona | Image courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

The employee also said the suspect had no response when he asked Abdullah how he would have known about the transmission fluid level if the vehicle had been stolen.

Officers then learned the Dodge had been reported as stolen to authorities in Arizona. According to the theft report from Mohave County, the suspect stated he purchased the vehicle one week earlier in Texas but left it on the shoulder of one of the exits off of Interstate 15 in Mohave County when one of the dashboard warning lights came on. The suspect then called for a ride.

Officers in Hurricane met with the suspect who reportedly denied being involved in the crash a week earlier with the Honda and went on to say he left the SUV in Mohave County when it started to overheat. He also denied ever saying the check engine light came on.

The report also states the suspect could not explain why the temporary registration did not match the person he claimed to have purchased the vehicle from and that he did not answer officers when he was asked how the car could have been stolen with a push-button ignition, since he said he took the key with him.

When officers asked to see the cell phone call the suspect reportedly made after leaving the SUV in Arizona, Abdullah said “he didn’t keep a call history on his phone.”

The suspect was arrested and booked into jail on third-degree aggravated assault after the interview, as well as one count of leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor.

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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