MT. PLEASANT—A Mt. Pleasant man who drove a pickup down a dirt road toward a group of law enforcement officers at more than 70 mph last year has been sentenced to prison.
Sixth District Judge Marvin Bagley sentenced Kevin Ray Otteson, 60, to 1-15 years for aggravated assault on an officer, a second-degree felony, and a class-A misdemeanor charge of stalking.
Otteson had been in the Sanpete County Jail since his arrest in June, 2021. Prior to sentencing, Otteson had pleaded guilty to the felony charge, and his attorney, public defender Dana Facemyer, strenuously argued that he should be released based on time served.
Facemyer said that the man’s actions had been triggered by the loss of his mother and the death of his wife six-months later, which he said led to a drinking bout. Facemeyer said Otteson deserved a second chance.
But Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels objected, saying that Otteson had a long history with law enforcement. He said the man had five prior DUI arrests and had a long history of ig- noring court orders, including his ex-girlfriend’s restraining order.
The former girlfriend told the judge she feared for her and her daughter’s safety if Otteson was released.
Judge Bagley asked Otteson if he wanted to speak. The defendant then went on a long rant that did him no favors. He blamed his late wife and his late mother, and said that Mt. Pleasant was out to get him.
Judge Bagley rejected Otteson’s arguments and sentenced him to the maximum for a second-degree felony, 1-15 years in state prison.
Otteson’s dramatic arrest in 2021 began when Officer Nate Taylor of the Mt. Pleasant Po- lice Department responded to a complaint from the Otteson’s former girlfriend. The woman said Ottenson was harassing her in violation of a restraining order.
Another Mt. Pleasant officer, Ben Swapp, provided Taylor with screenshots of call logs and text messages documenting contacts Otteson had had with the woman.
In addition, Officer Swapp said that Otteson had tried to convince his sister to pass messages to the ex-girlfriend in violation of a provision in the restraining order that he was not to use third-parties to attempt to contact her.
The former girlfriend told officers she had not answered any of Otteson’s texts or phone calls. She told the officers she just wanted the contacts to stop.
Officers Taylor and Swapp were in the process of trying to locate Otteson with the intent to arrest him when Otteson called Swapp and informed him he was in Beaver on his way to Las Vegas.
The suspect said he had a lawsuit against Mt. Pleasant and planned to file another. Swapp told Otteson he needed to return to Mt. Pleasant imme- diately to deal with the apparent violations of the restraining order. Otteson told the officers
he would turn around, but he wanted an attorney present when he met with them.
The following day, Officer Taylor was informed Otteson was again harassing the former girlfriend—and the threats had turned violent. She reported he had told her, “I am going out, but I will take a couple of cops with me.”
Taylor contacted Mt. Pleas- ant Police Chief Jim Wilberg, who had arrested Otteson pre- viously on harassment charges, and informed him of the threats of violence.
At 8:30 that night, Taylor learned that Otteson had been located in the Blue Hills area between Mt. Pleasant and Moroni. It turned out his claim that he had been in Beaver was a lie. He had never left the Mt. Pleasant area.
Other law enforcement officers had stopped him on Summer Grass Road, a gravel road off Blue Hills Road that has no other outlet to a public highway.
When Officer Taylor arrived on scene, officers from several departments had gathered. Otteson apparently realized he was trapped because he was observed aggressively backing up his pickup truck, then pulling forward again but not proceeding further up the road.
During this episode, law enforcement heard several loud “pops,” which they at first thought to be gunfire. The noises turned out to be fireworks he was throwing out the window of the pickup.
Otteson’s family was contacted to see if they could convince him to surrender, but their attempts were unsuccessful.
Chief Wilberg reported Otteson had told him he had an SKS automatic rifle and a .17 caliber hunting rifle. Wilberg said that in his last conversation, the suspect threatened to kill himself and kill officers on the scene. He said that Otteson seemed to be intoxicated. Wilburg reported that Otteson also claimed to have explosives in his vehicle, which he said he would use to “blow up Mt. Pleasant.”
Capt. Gary Larson with the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office arrived and took over negotiations with Otteson. A short time later, Sheriff Jared Buchanan arrived. All of the officers on the scene participated in a meeting and decided as a group to try to avoid use of deadly force.
Officers took up a position about 400 yards from where Otteson was parked. They blockaded the road and deployed spike strips. Officers stated they could hear the man screaming and yelling.
Otteson’s vehicle suddenly shot forward and approached the road block at more than 70 mph. He ran over the spike strips and stopped about 12 inches from a sheriff ’s patrol vehicle. Then he backed up and again ag- gressively drove toward the road block. This time he ran off the road and tore out 50 or 60 yards of right-of-way fence. He came to a halt approximately 12 feet from officers, then backed out of the fencing and fled further north on Summer Grass Road.
Otteson’s vehicle disappeared into the darkness. A drone was deployed which located Otteson’s pickup crashed in a ravine in the hills. When officers approached the vehicle, they found that Otteson had abandoned it and fled on foot.
The next day, several officers discovered Otteson hiding at a relative’s home in Mt. Pleasant. He was laying under a bed clutching a blanket to his stomach. Not knowing what he might be concealing, and with weapons drawn, officers commanded him to release the blanket. He refused but did not resist further.
When the blanket was removed, officers found he was clutching a dog, not a weapon. The man was placed in restraints and taken to jail.