Driver arrested for suspicion of DUI following crash with police vehicle in Washington City

ST. GEORGE — An early morning patrol ended when a Washington City Police vehicle was struck by a 19-year-old who reportedly blew through a stop sign on Telegraph Street and was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Washington City Police patrol vehicle is damaged in a two-vehicle crash on Telegraph Street involving an alleged drunk driver, Washington City, Utah, June 26, 2022 | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday an officer on patrol in Washington City was heading west on Telegraph Street, while a man driving a white Honda Civic was heading south on Cotton Mill East Avenue and approaching a stop sign. But instead of stopping at the stop sign, the Honda continued through the intersection of Telegraph Street where it struck the officer’s patrol vehicle, Williams said.

The impact spun the patrol vehicle 360 degrees and sent it airborne to where it struck a large landscaping boulder and crashed to the ground. The Honda continued through the intersection where the road changes to Bella Vista Drive, which is where officers found the car with the suspect still sitting inside.

Williams said the boulder stopped the officer’s vehicle from rolling down an embankment, where it likely would have crashed onto the driver’s side of the truck and injured the officer. Instead, the boulder kept the vehicle upright.

“We’re grateful for good landscaping,” Williams added.

The officer reported he was uninjured in the crash and was checked out by emergency medical personnel at the scene. Even so, Williams said, they are keeping an eye on him in the event he suffers any residual injuries so he can get medical attention as needed.

Since the crash involved a police officer, an outside agency was called out to conduct the investigation, which is standard. In this case, it was the Washington County Sheriff’s Office that responded to handle the investigation.

Deputies arrived to find debris scattered across the roadway and the officer’s patrol vehicle on the sidewalk.

Through the course of the investigation, deputies watched the dashcam footage captured during the crash that showed the unfolding of the T-bone crash, which reportedly supported the officer’s account provided at the scene.

According to charging documents filed with the court, deputies also detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside the suspect’s vehicle, as well as the suspect, who “immediately said he wanted a lawyer and did not want to speak to me,” the deputy noted in the report.

Emergency personnel respond to two-vehicle crash on Telegraph involving a police vehicle and a driver suspect of DUI, Washington City, Utah, June 26, 2022 | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

Moreover, the driver’s speech was slurred, the deputy said. He also was unable to maintain balance and was unresponsive when asked if he would perform a field sobriety test. Shortly thereafter, the suspect was transported to St. George Regional Hospital where he was medically cleared.

Investigators reportedly determined the driver, Aaron Gabriel Faz, was impaired at the time of the crash. He was arrested and booked into jail facing five misdemeanor charges, including driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, interfering with an arrest, failure to remain at the scene of an accident, failure to disclose identity and minor consumption of alcohol.

Police say during the ride to Purgatory Correctional Facility, the suspect unbuckled his seat belt, attempted to get out of the vehicle and continued to resist police as they worked to secure him in the back of the patrol vehicle, which is why he also was charged with interfering with an arrest.

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, 2022, all rights reserved.

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