Park City man convicted of dragging deputy with his car enters into plea agreement
September 15, 2018
A Park City man accused of nearly running a deputy with the Summit County Sheriff's Office over when Interstate 80 was closed for construction last month was sentenced to community service on Monday. Merle Winslow Carlson, 76, entered into a 12-month plea in abeyance on Monday to attempted failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop in Summit County's 3rd District Court. The charge was amended from a third-degree felony to a class A misdemeanor as part of a plea deal. He originally also faced an additional count of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor. But, that charge was dismissed.
Judge Patrick Corum ordered Carlson to pay a $300 fee, complete 30 hours of community service and submit a letter of apology to the deputy. The charges will be dismissed within six to 12 months if Carlson complies with the conditions of the agreement, according to his attorney, Gail Laser.
Carlson's charges stemmed from an incident that occurred during the first night of a shutdown of Interstate 80. The Utah Department of Transportation closed the westbound lanes of the interstate between Summit Park and Parleys Summit to allow construction crews to work on the new wildlife overpass at Parleys Summit in Salt Lake County.
The Sheriff's Office placed deputies at the entrances of several neighborhoods to direct traffic and reroute drivers who did not live in those neighborhoods. A deputy directed Carlson to stop as he entered the Summit Park area, but he did not immediately stop, according to court documents.
Documents state the deputy could smell alcohol coming from inside Carlson's car when he eventually stopped. Prosecutors say Carlson slammed on the accelerator as the deputy leaned into the vehicle to talk to him.
The deputy's arm was hooked in the window, and he had to lift himself off of the ground to avoid being run over, documents state. He then yelled "stop, stop the car now," but Carlson continued to accelerate. The deputy unsuccessfully pursued Carlson, who was able to get away.
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"It was basically a misunderstanding," Laser said. "My client is older and he misunderstood the officer's request."