Warrants for crashing stolen car into house, probation violations land Cedar City man in jail

Stock photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Cedar City man already on probation for a previous offense was arrested on multiple warrants after he failed to appear in court on charges related to a 2018 motor-vehicle crash involving a stolen car that crashed into a home, causing more that $50,000 in damage.

Falon Lakota Courtney, 21, of Cedar City, booking photo taken in Iron County, Utah, Dec. 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Friday night just before 10 p.m., officers arrested 21-year-old Falon Courtney on a warrant issued out of 5th District Court in Cedar City after he failed to appear for a status review hearing. Courtney was facing two second-degree felonies that include criminal mischief and receiving or transferring stolen property for the vehicle theft, as well as a misdemeanor charge for allegedly failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

After a myriad of continuances and status hearings, the suspect was released at the end of September, and two weeks later a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for a status review hearing in October.

The 2018 case involves an incident where officers were dispatched to a report that a vehicle had crashed into a house September 15, 2018. Responders arrived to find a vehicle next to the home on South 500 West in Cedar City with the driver having fled the scene, according to the 911 caller’s statement to police.

Police also determined the damage to the property to be in excess of $50,000. During the accident investigation, they were able to determine the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver slowed down about 50 feet before the turn in the road, but lost control of the car and skid off the roadway before sliding into the landscaped area of the yard. Officers also determined the vehicle to be going at such a high rate of speed that it traveled 30 feet and continued up a hill where it ultimately struck the house.

Officers also learned there were two men in the car when the incident took place.

Shortly after the crash, police said they first located Brennen Teeples in the area with injuries consistent with a car accident, observing a layer of fine dust over his person and the strong smell of airbag gas. The vehicle at the scene of the accident had its airbag deployed. Teeples told officers he was in the area when the crash occurred, but denied being inside the car. Teeples was later arrested and transported to jail.

Courtney told police he and Teeples were in the car together, and were stopped by a motorcycle officer earlier. But before the officer reached the vehicle, Teeples allegedly told the suspect the car was stolen and they fled with the vehicle.

He also claimed Teeples was driving fast and when they hit a bump in the road and lost control, the car went crashing into a house before both fled the scene. It was only later that Courtney learned that Teeples had been arrested for the crash.

Teeples spent more than five months in jail, but the case against him was dismissed on March 19.

Courtney was arrested October 18, 2018 after police said an officer recognized him as being one of the alleged occupants in the stolen car that that fled from a traffic stop and then crashed into the house months before. The officer was the same one as that which had pulled over the stolen vehicle the month before. The officer was also aware police were searching for the suspect on a felony warrant for a 2017 residential burglary.

After fleeing from the officer on foot, Courtney was arrested minutes later when he “eventually ran out of energy and gave up,” the officer noted in the report.

Court records indicate that during the October 2018 arrest, Courtney, “admitted to being an occupant, observing me trying to make the traffic stop, running from me and crashing into the residence.”

Charges would not be filed in the case for several more months, as investigators were still in the process of analyzing the evidence to determine who was driving at the time of the crash.

Friday’s arrest was also for a second warrant which was issued for a probation violation on a 2017 case where the defendant pleaded guilty to several charges after he was caught burglarizing a home with the residents asleep in their bedroom. These included second-degree felony for burglary of a dwelling, a third-degree felony for theft and multiple misdemeanors for burglary of a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, criminal mischief and minor consuming alcohol.

He was sentenced on the charges in September 2017 and ordered to serve 365 days in jail, with credit for 60 days, and then placed on 36-months probation. He was also ordered to pay $1,129 in fines while more than $24,000 in fines was suspended. He allegedly violated his probation and then failed to appear for the hearing scheduled at the end of October, at which point a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The burglary occurred July 30, 2017 when officers were dispatched to a home on Mule Train Drive in Enoch at around 3:30 a.m. after the homeowners woke to find a male subject in their bedroom.

“Falon said he had been in the house for 30 minutes (before he was caught),” according to the court documents.

The homeowner located Courtney allegedly exiting a basement window and was able to detain him until officers arrived on scene where they found the suspect sitting by the fence next to the garage.

Courtney admitted to consuming alcohol and unlawfully entering the residence with the intent to commit a theft, and told officers he entered the vehicle in the garage from the passenger side, where homeowners told police there was $400 missing from a purse in the car, the exact amount of cash office allege they found on the suspect during the arrest.

Courtney remains in custody at the Iron County Jail on $20,000 bail.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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