JACKSON — A North Carolina man who led law enforcement on an extensive search after he allegedly assaulted a trooper of the Ohio State Highway Patrol mid-August during a traffic stop has been indicted.
Dentonio Jah Utley, 23, of Spring Lake, North Carolina, was indicted with one count of having weapons while under disability, one count of escape, both felonies of the third-degree; as well as, one count of assault on a peace officer, one count of improperly handing firearms in a motor vehicle, and one count of receiving stolen property, all felonies of the fourth-degree.
Utley’s charges stems back to Aug. 18. On that date, a trooper with the Jackson Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol attempted to make a traffic stop on U.S. Route 35 near Chillicothe Pike on a 2009 Audi with tags out of North Carolina.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol report, the car did initially stop, but then quickly turned onto a dead-end road. When the driver, Utley, was told to step from the vehicle, a firearm could reportedly be seen in plain view under the edge of the front seat by the approaching trooper. When the trooper began to place the driver in custody he was allegedly assaulted by Utley, who then reportedly fled on foot into a nearby wooded area.
The Patrol quickly received assistance in searching for the man by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. A Patrol helicopter also responded to the area to conduct an aerial search for the suspect. Nearly 20 uniformed and plain clothes officers searched the nearby area for the suspect. A Patrol K-9 was deployed to attempt to establish a track of Utley.
The Patrol reported that the weapon in the vehicle was a loaded 9 mm pistol with an extended magazine. The vehicle was also found to have been stolen out of North Carolina.
Nearly two and a half hours later, the Jackson Police Department (JPD) received information that a man matching the description of the suspect was dropped off at the Quality Inn on Huron Street in Jackson.
A man hiking at a nearby state preserve reportedly met Utley on a trail, not realizing what had transpired and gave him a ride into town after being told he had gotten separated from friend in the woods.
The JPD responded to the Quality Inn and Utley reportedly ran out a back door; however, he was apprehended by officers without further incident.
Utley then allegedly provided a false identity to officers. Police discovered that Utley was claiming to have different facial features, prompting them to investigate further and eventually find his true identity.
Utley appeared in the Jackson County Municipal Court for an arraignment on August 20. Five days later, his case was bound over to the Jackson County Common Pleas Court. He was then indicted on Sept. 18.
On Oct. 6, the court appointed multi-county public defender, Matthew Loesch, to represent Utley. A trial is set for November 2-4, 2020, beginning at 9 a.m. each morning.