WASHINGTON CITY, Utah — A California man is facing charges after fleeing from Utah officers in an allegedly stolen vehicle.
Jonathan Valdivia Garcia Jr., 42, was arrested for the offenses of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony; fail to stop or respond to a police order, a third-degree felony; two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor; reckless driving, class B misdemeanor; use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; driving on a suspended/revoked/disqualified license for a qualifying circumstance, a class B misdemeanor; and fail to perform duties in a motor vehicle accident/property damage, a class C misdemeanor.
The inmate was found dead in a cell at the Central Utah Correctional Facility
At 7 pm on Saturday, Sept. 23, an officer of Washington City Police Department was sitting 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 from California, which the officer confirmed with dispatch.
The officer then pulled onto I-15, brought the truck back to rest, and stopped behind it as it exited the highway, according to the probable cause statement. It was reported that the officer continued to follow the truck as it pulled up to Petco.
The officer then activated his emergency lights and siren to initiate a “high risk” traffic stop, according to the probable cause statement. The driver, identified as Garcia, reportedly raised his hands in the air and pulled over. When the officer approached Garcia, he said Garcia refused him and sped out of the parking lot.
Because Garcia was speeding without regard for the public, the officer said he called off the pursuit. In the affidavit, the officer drove up behind Garcia from a distance and found Garcia running against traffic and ignoring a red light. According to the officer, Garcia disappeared but another WCPD officer found him. The officer reportedly witnessed Garcia run into a fence before entering I-15 near mile marker 11.
A Utah Highway Patrol The 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 down by dispatch using street cameras. WCPD re-located Garcia and UHP initiated the pursuit, the affidavit states.
According to police, Garcia continued on I-15 until mile marker 16.5. Garcia reportedly tried to use an emergency turnaround on the dirt road but got stuck in the dirt. A UHP officer used his patrol vehicle to prevent Garcia from escaping, according to the probable cause statement.
Officers reportedly ordered Garcia to get out of his car, which he did not do for more than 10 minutes. He eventually did and was taken into custody without incident, the affidavit states.
Garcia reportedly told the officers that he bought the truck from a man named “Tridan” but did not know his full name. Garcia told officers that he initially agreed to buy the car for $50,000, but instead paid $10,000. Officers asked Garcia if he thought it was strange to pay $10,000 for a car worth more than $60,000, and he said yes, according to the statement of probable cause.
Garcia reportedly told officers he ran away because he was scared, and he is on parole in California.
Officers searched his car and found drug paraphernalia, Methamphetamine, and Heroin.