WASHINGTON CITY, Utah (ABC4) — A California man is facing charges after fleeing officers in Utah in an alleged stolen vehicle.
Jonathan Valdivia Garcia Jr., 42, was arrested for the offenses of receive or transfer stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony; fail to stop or respond at command of police, a third-degree felony; two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor; reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor; use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; drive on suspended/revoked/disqualified license for qualifying circumstance, a class B misdemeanor; and fail to comply duties at vehicle accident/property damage, a class C misdemeanor.
Just after 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, an officer with the Washington City Police Department was sitting stationary on I-15 near mile marker 8 when he observed a white Ford pickup truck with a California license plate pass him, according to a probable cause statement. The officer’s automated license plate reader reportedly indicated the truck was stolen out of California, which the officer confirmed with dispatch.
That officer then pulled out onto I-15, re-located the truck, and pulled up behind it as it exited the highway, according to the probable cause statement. The officer reportedly continued to follow the truck as it pulled into Petco.
The officer then turned on his emergency lights and siren to begin a “high risk” traffic stop, according to the probable cause statement. The driver, identified as Garcia, reportedly threw his hands in the air and pulled over. As the officer approached Garcia, he said Garcia flipped him off and sped out of the parking lot.
Because Garcia was speeding without concern for the public, the officer said he discontinued the pursuit. According to the affidavit, the officer traveled behind Garcia from a far distance and saw Garcia go against traffic and ignore red lights. This officer said he lost Garcia but a different officer with WCPD located him. That officer reportedly witnessed Garcia run through a fence before entering I-15 near mile marker 11.
A Utah Highway Patrol trooper saw Garcia near exit 13 before Garcia exited the highway near mile marker 10, according to the probable cause statement. Garcia was then tracked by dispatch using street cameras. WCPD re-located Garcia and UHP began a pursuit, the affidavit states.
Police said Garcia continued on I-15 until mile marker 16.5. Garcia reportedly attempted to use an emergency turnaround on a dirt road but got stuck in the dirt. A UHP officer then used his patrol vehicle to disable Garcia from evading any further, according to the probable cause statement.
Officers reportedly commanded Garcia to exit his vehicle, which he refused to do for more than 10 minutes. He eventually did and was taken into custody without incident, the affidavit states.
Garcia reportedly told officers he purchased the truck from a man named “Tridan” but did not know his full name. Garcia told officers he originally agreed to purchase the vehicle for $50,000, but instead paid $10,000. Officers asked Garcia if he thought it was odd to pay $10,000 for a vehicle worth more than $60,000, and he said yes, according to the probable cause statement.
Garcia reportedly told officers he fled because he was scared, and that he was on parole in California.
Officers searched his vehicle and found drug paraphernalia, Methamphetamine, and Heroine.