A Utah man faces multiple felony charges after he led police on a hours-long chase through a residential St. George neighborhood and allegedly fought off multiple officers as he tried to get away.
The chase lasted for three hours overnight on Sunday, with a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter helping local police on a search through a neighborhood in northwestern St. George. At one point, a reverse-911 message was sent to residents urging them to “remain vigilant.”
The chase was eventually called off, but the suspect, 34-year-old Austin James Sharette, was arrested later after an altercation with three St. George Police officers, including a fight over the officers’ electronic control devices, according to arresting documents filed in 5th District Court.
Sharette was charged with five second-degree felony counts of assaulting a police officer, two third-degree felony counts of disarming a police officer, second-degree felony counts of failure to stop for an officer and criminal mischief and multiple misdemeanor charges, including assault, interfering with an arrest, failure to stop, causing property damage and domestic violence in the presence of a child. He was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane without bail.
According to the police report, officers were first called at about 11 p.m. to an address on the 1700 West block of 540 North over a domestic dispute. Sharette, who had an outstanding warrant over a protective order violation, attempted to hide in the back of a car in the garage, where he was found by officers during a search.
When Sharette was told to exit the vehicle, he instead climbed into the driver’s seat and attempted to escape, backing out several times as he drove through the partly-open garage door and into a police vehicle parked in the driveway, according to the police report. Officers in the garage had to dodge out of the way.
Sharette managed to drive away but his vehicle was found a few blocks away, where he had presumably left the vehicle and fled on foot, according to the report. That was when the larger search operation began, with the helicopter called in to help and officers from multiple agencies responding to help.
Later, after the search was ended, Sharette fought with officers at a separate scene, allegedly kicking one of the officers and attempting to take away their electronic control devices. He was given a medical check and booked into jail.
A district court judge ordered that Sharette be held without bail. As of Monday morning, his initial court appearance had not been scheduled.