Santa Clara pursuit ends in arrest when rider crashes motorcycle on Sunset Boulevard

Overlay with stock image of police lights and file photo of Santa Clara-Ivins patrol vehicle, Santa Clara, Utah, March 2, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A police chase that started in Santa Clara last week ended in an arrest when the suspect lost control of the motorcycle he was riding and crashed into a car on Sunset Boulevard.

2018 file photo for illustrative purposes only of Santa Clara-Ivins Police vehicle, location unspecified, July 11, 2018 | File photo courtesy of the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department, St. George News

An officer was following behind a motorcycle heading south on Santa Clara Drive and attempted to stop the bike near the 2600 block for not having any tail lights.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, instead of pulling over, the rider sped away from the officer and by the time the rider reached Canyon View Drive the motorcycle was going more than 70 mph.

The suspect, who was later identified as 35-year-old Kurt Michael Richards of St. George, veered into oncoming traffic as he attempted to pull into the parking lot of Lin’s market, which is when the rider lost control of the bike as it struck the side of a vehicle.

With the bike stopped, officers ordered the rider to the ground at gunpoint, which is when he reached inside of a nearby bush using both hands.

Meanwhile, officers continued ordering Richards to put his hands out, and after several commands the suspect complied and was handcuffed and placed in the patrol vehicle.

With the suspect in custody, officers searched the bush and while digging through the foliage, they came across a small cigarette box that contained several grams of suspected methamphetamine. Also in the box were several empty plastic baggies, leading authorities to suspect the substance was intended for resale.

Through a records check, officers discovered Richards was riding on a suspended license, had no proof of insurance, and then determined that the registration on the bike was revoked.

Richards was booked into jail shortly after 10 p.m. and charged with second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, along with third-degree felony charges, including failing to stop at an officers’ command and tampering with evidence. He also faces four misdemeanor charges, including reckless driving, possession of paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license and having no insurance.

2016 file photo for illustrative purposes only of an officer at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Dixie Drive in St. George, Utah, Dec. 10, 2016 | Photo by Austin Peck, St. George News

This current case is the fourth open criminal case filed against Richards this year, including a case filed in May following a traffic stop on West Sunset Boulevard where he was arrested for DUI, and during a search prior to his arrest, officers found a metal container hidden under the spare tire cover that contained several yellow baggies of suspected methamphetamine. Richards was later charged with third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence.

One month before, Richards was arrested and charged with second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and a third-degree count of the same charge following an incident reported April 19 when officers responded to a storage unit on Sunset Boulevard in St. George to follow-up on a report alleging Richards was living in, and selling drugs out of a unit he rented.

Officers recovered a large number of syringes and multiple plastic containers with a crystallized substance that appeared to be methamphetamine inside. Richards was arrested and later charged with second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, as well as several misdemeanor charges.

Following the motorcycle chase and arrest last week, Richards was formally charged, made an initial appearance in 5th District Court on Friday and bail was set at $10,000.

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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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