A 20-year-old Bountiful man who stole a tankful of gas and some sandwiches from a convenience store and then led police on a high-speed chase is suffering a serious mental illness and needs treatment, a 2nd District judge ruled this week.
The judge gave Steven R. Thain a suspended jail sentence and fine but put him on probation for three years and ordered him to continue the individual and group therapy sessions he's been attending.To reinforce his seriousness about the therapy, Judge Douglas L Cornaby told Thain that for every session he misses, he'll have to serve five days of the suspended jail term.
Thain was originally charged with robbery, a second-degree felony, and fleeing from police officers, a third-degree felony. He pleaded guilty to the fleeing charge in a plea bargain with the county attorney's office.
Cornaby delayed his sentencing once, ordering a full psychological workup of Thain at his own expense. That evaluation showed him to be suffering from a previously unsuspected mental illness, Cornaby said.
Thain said this week in court that he is responding to the treatment already and is humiliated by the events that occurred on April 8. On that day, he put $10 in gas in his car and when he went into the station, grabbed the female attendant's sweater and told her she was attractive, according to court records.
When the woman fled, prosecutors said, Thain laughed, grabbed some sandwiches and drove away. The attendant called police and the high-speed chase ensued, running from Bountiful into Salt Lake County and ending when Thain was run off the road by a police vehicle.
Cornaby reduced the third-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor at sentencing, giving Thain a jail term of one year and fining him $1,500. He then suspended the jail time and fine, putting him on three years of extended probation on condition that Thain keep up his therapy sessions.
The judge also ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service.