CRIME

St. George man charged with ramming patrol car, fighting with officers

Nov 21, 2022, 2:21 PM | Updated: 2:21 pm
A St. George man who police say drove through a partially open garage, rammed a patrol car multiple...
A St. George man who police say drove through a partially open garage, rammed a patrol car multiple times, prompted a three-hour search and then fought with officers attempting to arrest him now faces a long list of criminal charges. (Stace Hall, KSL-TV)
(Stace Hall, KSL-TV)

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A St. George man who police say rammed an officer’s patrol car several times and later physically fought with officers attempting to arrest him is now facing a long list of charges.

Austin James Sharette, 34, was charged Monday in 5th District Court with five counts of assault on a police officer, a second-degree felony; two counts of disarming a police officer, criminal mischief and failing to stop for police, third-degree felonies; assault on a police officer and assault, class A misdemeanors; three additional counts of failing to stop for police, a class A and two class B misdemeanors; causing an accident with property damage and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of children, class B misdemeanors; and driving on a suspended license, a class C misdemeanor.

Police interaction with Sharette began on Nov. 15 when officers say they were called to a domestic violence incident involving him.

The following Saturday, Sharette returned to the residence from which he was removed and police were called again, according to a police booking affidavit. Five officers responded to the residence and reported finding Sharette hiding in the trunk of a Subaru Outback that was parked in the garage.

“Officers gave Austin multiple commands to show his hands, to exit the vehicle and notified Austin that he was under arrest. Austin ignored the verbal commands, but then appeared as though he was going to comply and exit the vehicle. However, Austin moved from the trunk area of the vehicle and into the driver seat,” the affidavit states.

Police say Sharette then started the car and put it in reverse, even though the garage door was only partially open.

“Austin accelerated in reverse, quickly, striking the garage door, and striking a St. George Police Department patrol car,” the affidavit says.

Sharette continued going forward and backward, hitting the patrol car three times before finally driving around it and driving off, according to the affidavit.

“Officers in the garage had to actively attempt to avoid being struck by Austin’s vehicle. Austin’s conduct caused me to fear for my own safety, as well as the safety of the officers I was with,” the arresting officer wrote in the affidavit.

Other officers got into their patrol cars to catch up, and found Sharette’s vehicle abandoned a few blocks away.

“A significant search involving multiple law enforcement agencies, including a police helicopter, was conducted,” police said.

St. George police sent a reverse 911 call to the area, notifying residents to shelter in place as the search was conducted. About three hours later, the search was called off when officers could not find Sharette.

Just as the officer who initially responded was sitting down to write his report, a call for help went out on the police radio. Sharette was found hiding near Westridge Drive and Sunset Drive, where “two officers were actively fighting with Austin, who was actively attempting to resist arrest,” according to the affidavit. “Austin had kicked one of the first two responding officers in the head on three occasions. Austin had attempted to flee, despite being ordered to stop. Austin had attempted to disarm the first two responding officers each of their (Tasers).”

Backup officers arrived and were able to get handcuffs on Sharette. Prosecutors have requested that Sharette be held in jail without the possibility of posting bail, pending the outcome of his criminal case.

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St. George man charged with ramming patrol car, fighting with officers