ST. GEORGE — A man found stranded on a cliff was identified as the driver in a crash that left one vehicle abandoned in the backyard of a residence. Following his arrest, the man assaulted two jail deputies during a scuffle in a jail cell, authorities say.

2022 file photo for illustrative purposes only of police officers at scene on South Bluff Street in St. George, Utah on March 8, 2022 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday morning, officers responded to an area near 500 North Diagonal Street to conduct a welfare check on a man who was reportedly stranded on the side of a cliff and unable to get down on his own. 

According to charging documents filed with the court, the officer noted that the hiker “did not know how he got there and stated he could not remember anything.” The hiker also reportedly said he had a vehicle but did not know where it was. 

The hiker, 29-year-old Elijah Lee Sean Belcher, of Colorado City, Arizona, was transported to St George Regional Hospital by ambulance for evaluation and treatment. 

While Belcher was at the hospital, officers were called out to a residence, located in the 300 block of West 500 North, after the homeowner discovered a vehicle abandoned in his backyard roughly two hours after the stranded hiker call. 

As it turned out, the vehicle matched the description of the vehicle misplaced by Belcher.

Police say officers at the hospital found suspected methamphetamine and paraphernalia on Belcher. And following Belcher’s release from the hospital, officers transported him to the scene of the crash reported in the backyard of the residence.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Belcher was arrested and booked into Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on three misdemeanors, including possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia, along with one count of failing to report an accident involving property damage.

Purgatory Correctional Facility file photo, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 20, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Later that evening, deputies at the jail were advised that Belcher was reportedly causing a disturbance in one of the cells he shared with another inmate. 

When asked to cuff up by officers standing at the cell door, Belcher allegedly refused and then grabbed the other inmate who appeared to be trying to avoid any interaction with the suspect, authorities said.

As soon as the cell door opened, deputies allege the suspect “rushed” several of the corrections officers, one of whom deployed a Taser that partially immobilized the suspect who was then escorted to the ground.

Even after the suspect was taken to the ground, the scuffle ensued as Belcher continued fighting with deputies, allegedly kicking one in the face and a second deputy in the stomach, despite multiple Taser deployments that appeared to have little effect on the suspect.  

During the altercation, the suspect grabbed hold of one of the deputy’s Tasers and released two rounds before officers regained control of the device, the report states.

Following the incident, three third-degree felony charges, two counts of assault by a prisoner and one count of disarming a police officer of an energy device were submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review. 

Belcher remains in jail on a no-bail hold at this time.

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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