HURRICANE — A suspect was recently arrested on charges that included arson after he allegedly set fire to his own trailer to get back at an ex-girlfriend who was staying there.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, a patrol officer observed a couple crossing the road near 3400 West on Wednesday. The officer wrote that he noticed that the man “flipped off several vehicles” as he continued across the roadway.
The officer followed the couple to a gas station and spoke to the woman who reported that the man she was walking with had just hit her. At this point, the man, later identified as 27-year-old Trenton Ryan Begay, was walking away from the parking lot, the report states, and the officer called out to him and asked him to stop. The suspect continued walking away as the officer announced he was a police officer and repeatedly asked him to stop.
When the officer advised he would use a taser on him if he refused to comply, Begay reportedly turned and approached the officer saying, “Go ahead and taze me,” the officer wrote in the report.
A second officer approached, and just as the suspect turned and began walking away, the officer deployed the taser, causing the suspect to fall forward. The report states Begay remained noncompliant and was taken into custody minutes later.
After Begay was transported to the hospital for medical clearance, the woman told police the suspect struck her in the face.
Other officers arrived at the hospital while the woman was still at the scene talking to police, and officers were advised by emergency dispatch that a fire had just been reported at Begay’s residence, where the woman was also staying.
Begay was advised that his residence may have been on fire, and when officers asked if anyone else lived there, the suspect reportedly told them that his sister and her children live with him, but he added that they were not home at the time. Begay was medically cleared and then transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility on the assault charge shortly before 4:30 p.m.
Hurricane Police Officer Ken Thompson told St. George News that neighbors near the trailer saw smoke, called 911 and then grabbed a couple of garden hoses and began dousing the flames.
Once firefighters arrived, they found only burning embers, which were completely extinguished by fire crews who then set out to make sure there were no fire extensions or anything smoldering that could reignite later.
Officers questioned Begay at the jail about the blaze, at which point Begay allegedly told police he was upset with the woman and wanted to get even with her and the man she was currently romantically involved with. He told officers he intentionally lit hand sanitizer on fire in a tool compartment in the trailer, the report states, and then walked away as the material continued to burn.
Officers noted that the fire was started in a trailer park with several other trailers located nearby. Additionally, the officer stated there was a strong wind blowing across the region at the time the fire was burning.
Begay was officially charged Thursday with first-degree felony aggravated arson, as well as interfering with an arresting officer, failing to stop at command of law enforcement and assault, each a misdemeanor. He is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court on Friday and remains in custody on $30,000 bail.
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.
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