CEDAR CITY — Criminal charges were filed Tuesday against an alleged drug user accused of starting an intense fistfight inside a hospital emergency room with a police officer.
The Cedar City officer was still recovering from several injuries Tuesday and was expected to remain at home resting for the remainder of the week.
It's the second time officer Jason Thomas has been involved in a major incident that required time off to recover. In 2007, Thomas was injured from two shotgun blasts he received while trying to help a stranded motorists. The bulletproof vest he was wearing was credited with saving his life.
In the most recent incident, about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Thomas responded to a call of a disorderly person and arrested Logan Sawyer, 30, for investigation of drug possession and intoxication, said Sgt. Jimmy Roden.
Sawyer was first taken to Valley View Medical Center to be evaluated before he was transferred to the Iron County Correctional Facility. As part of the evaluation process, Thomas had to temporarily remove Sawyer's handcuffs. When he tried to put them back on, Sawyer resisted, according to Roden.
"He jumped from the bed and immediately started swinging," charging documents state.
Sawyer first took a swing at the nurse who was in the room, but she was able to get out of the way, according to the charges.
An intense fistfight ensued with the officer. Roden described it as an "all-out battle." Sawyer punched the officer in the head and face multiple times, according to the charges. After Thomas got Sawyer onto the ground, Sawyer bit the officer's left forearm, "causing substantial damage," according to the charges.
Sawyer also tried to grab Thomas' gun, Roden said.
"Thomas deployed the stun portion of his Taser at several locations on Logan, but he would not comply," prosecutors wrote.
But Thomas was eventually able to overpower the man and put the handcuffs back on. The officer suffered a mild concussion in addition to cuts, scratches and bruises.
Sawyer was charged in 5th District Court with disarming a police officer, a first-degree felony; assaulting a police officer, a third-degree felony; drug possession, a third-degree felony; assault on a healthcare provider, a class A misdemeanor; criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor; drug possession, a class B misdemeanor; disorderly conduct and intoxication, both class C misdemeanors.
Investigators said they were called at least two previous times on Sunday to deal with Sawyer before he was arrested.
"At one point he called in to say people were after him and he needed protection," the charges state. He acted "paranoid" and "unreasonable" and stated that people were "trying to kill him."
Prosecutors said he later admitted to "sniffing a line of meth," and officers observed fresh injection marks on his arm. He allegedly said that he had been using meth and smoking marijuana" over the past couple days."
When police were called to deal with Sawyer a second time that day, the responding officer "found him to be even more paranoid and delusional than he was before. He was unstable on his feet and still under the influence. He was unable to stay still and twitched constantly. He was unable to verbalize and did not make any sense as he spoke," the officer wrote.
In 2007, Utah Department of Corrections officer Stephen Anderson was overpowered, shot and killed by prison inmate Curtis Allgier during an escape from the University of Utah Orthopedic Center where Allgier was receiving treatment. He was sentenced last year to life without parole.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam