The case against a Texas man accused of injuring a Grand County Sheriff’s deputy after an alleged high-speed chase could be heading to the trial phase.
Peter Lozano Flores pleaded not guilty last month to 19 felony charges and three misdemeanor offenses, and on March 4, 7th District Judge Lyle R. Anderson scheduled a five-day jury trial to run from Oct. 20-24.
The 41-year-old Garland, Texas, man stands accused of second-degree felony charges of assault against a peace officer/military service member and receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle.
The Grand County Attorney’s office has also charged Flores with 10 third-degree felony counts of possessing, selling or transferring information from a financial transaction card. Other felony charges against him include failure to stop or respond at the command of police, possession or use of a controlled substance, possession of another (person’s) identifying documents and forgery-falsification (of a) license/special plate/permit.
The most serious charges are based on allegations that Flores injured Grand County Sheriff’s Deputy Zane Lammert by ramming a stolen BMW into the deputy’s parked vehicle, following a high-speed chase on Jan. 25. Lammert sustained minor injuries as a result of the alleged crash and was taken to Moab Regional Hospital for observation.
In addition to Flores, co-defendant Courtney Breann York faces many of the same charges, including one count of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle and 10 counts of possessing, selling or transferring information (from) a financial transaction card.
The 20-year-old Leonard, Texas woman’s case is currently scheduled to go to trial from Oct. 10-17.
Many of the charges against both defendants are based on allegations that authorities found a stolen Arizona license plate, numerous credit cards and several different identification cards when they searched the BMW.
While York’s case appears to be relatively straightforward, Flores’ case has taken a number of twists and turns since he first appeared in court on Feb. 4.
Flores initially sought to represent himself, and he repeatedly turned down Judge Anderson’s offers for legal help.
At the time, Flores said he felt he would have more “strength” if the court allowed him to serve as his own legal counsel.
The judge reluctantly agreed to Flores’ request, although he said he felt the defendant was making a “terrible mistake.” But Anderson later appointed Grand County Public Defender Don Torgerson to represent Flores, according to court records.
However, Torgerson is also serving as York’s attorney, which created a potential conflict of interest.
When the judge became aware of that potential conflict, he appointed attorney Steve Russell to take Torgerson’s place as Flores’ attorney.
Both cases date back to Jan. 25, when Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Kerry Ball reported that an unregistered white BMW was speeding eastbound on Interstate 70 near Thompson Springs.
Ball tried to stop the vehicle. But instead of slowing down, the BMW’s driver, later identified by authorities as Flores, allegedly raced off at speeds that topped 100 miles an hour, according to Ball’s report on the incident.
At one point during the chase, the BMW pulled off to the side of the interstate and a woman later identified as York stepped out; she was later taken into custody.
The driver of the BLM eventually veered off the interstate near Cisco and rushed down state Route 128, Castle Valley Road and the La Sal Mountain Loop Road, evading road spikes along the way.
Several other law enforcement agencies began to set up roadblocks, but authorities say the suspect eventually turned around and drove back down Castle Valley Road.
Ball and Lammert were at the scene when the BMW approached their vehicles and then came to a stop.
Lammert ordered the driver to step out of the car, but Flores allegedly accelerated the BMW and crashed into the deputy’s vehicle while Lammert was still behind the steering wheel. The impact of the crash knocked Flores unconscious, bringing an end to the alleged incident.
Lammert sustained minor injuries in the crash.
Both Flores and York remain in custody at the Grand County Jail; Flores is being held without bail.