OGDEN — An Ogden police officer is recovering from a broken arm and a concussion after a scuffle and foot chase with a 29-year-old parole fugitive who has two previous assault convictions on his record.
Officer Jordan Winder stopped a man on a bicycle at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Washington Boulevard and 26th Street. The man head-butted Winder in the face and ran away, according to a police probable cause statement.
Three bystanders saw the incident and two of them chased the suspect and were holding him on the ground about two blocks away when the injured Winder and other officers arrived. One of the men tripped the suspect to stop him.
Leroy Edward Bell was charged Monday with second-degree felony assault on a peace officer plus misdemeanor charges of failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, giving false information to police, and possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
Winder was taken away by ambulance, the police statement said. He suffered a concussion and two broken teeth in the head-butting and a broken arm in the following struggle.
“He’s doing well,” Ogden Police Lt. Brian Eynon said Tuesday. “He will make a full recovery.”
Winder was the third Ogden officer injured recently, although the other officers’ injuries were minor, Eynon said.
“We have them all the time,” Eynon said. “People get desperate and they want to stay out of jail, and the first thing they think is to run. They take off and we catch them and they fall and we fall.”
Officers found drug paraphernalia and two bags with the bicycle that tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana residue, the probable cause statement said.
Bell is being held without bail in the Weber County Jail.
According to 2nd District Court records, Bell fought with a South Ogden officer who chased him after he tried to buy food at a fast-food restaurant with a counterfeit $100 bill in January 2018. He was convicted and sentenced to 0-5 years in prison.
Twelve months later, Bell was out of prison, back in Weber County and on the run for violating parole, court records said. Bell broke into an apartment to hide from law enforcement, and a SWAT team eventually had to break down a door to arrest him.
Bell was sentenced to a year in jail and was back out by the time of Saturday’s confrontation.
Nine criminal cases have been filed against Bell since 2013, court records show. The first was in Layton, where he spent 10 days in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault for choking a woman.
In 2014 he had three felony convictions. The first two were for using stolen credit cards and the third was for escape after he walked away from the Davis County Jail work release center.
Eynon said offenders veering back and forth between incarceration and freedom has become more common since Utah’s 2015 justice reform initiative, which reduced penalties for drug possession offenses.
“Some of them are coming back out sooner than we would like to expect,” he said.