DAVIS COUNTY, Utah, Dec. 26, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Two Davis County Sheriff’s deputies — one 5 feet 2 inches and 120 pounds, the other 4 feet 11 inches and 100 pounds — had a heavyweight challenge Christmas night, when they squared off with a combative, 6 foot, 250 pound DUI suspect, who decided he would not go easy after fleeing a DUI stop.
Benisimani Pouha, 40, was booked into the Davis County Jail on suspicion of:
- Assault against a peace officer with weapon or force, a second-degree felony
- Disarming a police officer — energy device (Taser) a third-degree felony
- Failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor
- Assault on a peace officer, a class A misdemeanor
- Possession of a controlled substances schedule, a class A misdemeanor
- DUI — drugs/alcohol combo, a class B misdemeanor
- Use or possession of drugs, a class B misdemeanor
- Two counts of possession or use of a controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor
- Operating a vehicle without license or registration (suspended or revoked), a class C misdemeanor
- Violation of learners’s permit, an infraction
- Stopping of sudden decrease in speed, an infraction
According to court documents, Davis County Sheriff Deputy Andrea Gossels and Deputy Chanler Stimpson were patrolling U.S 89 on Dec. 25 when they came upon a silver sedan, parked half in a traffic lane and half across the fog line.
“I pulled my patrol car behind the car and activated my emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop,” Gossels said in the probable cause statement. “I approached the vehicle on the passenger side and made contact with the driver. When I made contact with the driver the keys were in the ignition but the vehicle was stopped and not running.”
Pouha allegedly told the officer his vehicle had broken down.
“I noticed a pipe with white residue consistent with methamphetamine sitting on the passenger seat. I also noted an open box of corona beer in the back seat of the vehicle. I was able to identify the driver from a sticker on his gear shift that had his name on it,” Gossels said.
Pouha did not speak clearly and seemed to be talking to someone who was not there, the statement says.
“He stared at me blankly for approximately 45 seconds before opening his door and stepping out. He walked toward the right side of the road as directed and then raised his arms and continued walking onto the shoulder.
“As he approached the fence dividing the highway from the frontage road I followed him and when my partner caught up to me we attempted to keep him from fleeing through the fence. He was able to pull away from us and we then went through the fence and followed him.
“Deputy Stimpson was able to position herself in front of Mr. Pouha and attempted to verbally deescalate him. Mr. Pouha then pushed her out of the way and Deputy Stimpson attempted to tackle him. He fought away from her at which point I drew my ECM device (otherwise known as a Taser) and announced to Mr. Pouha that I was going to utilize my taser against him. I gave commands to stop and then activated my taser and he fell to the ground.”
The probable cause statement notes the significant size difference between Pouha and the arresting officers.
“Promptly following the Taser deployment, both Deputy Stimpson and I attempted to secure Mr. Pouha and apply handcuffs. He began to fight both of us and pinned both of us to the ground. Deputy Stimpson used multiple closed-fist strikes to his head in an attempt to free herself. We were able to free ourselves and Mr. Pouha stood up, raised his arms and again walked away from us.”
Sergeant Joshua Boucher, DCSO, arrived on scene at Tasered Pouha a second time before taking him into custody.
“After reviewing my body camera footage, I observed that Mr. Pouha wrapped his arms around Deputy Stimpson’s head and neck and pressed her face into his chest, likely to cause suffocation. I also observed that after I deployed my Taser and approached Mr. Pouha he made multiple attempts to grab my Taser from me.”
A records check revealed Pouha was driving on a learner’s permit and is on parole for a felony sexual assault conviction. In a jail search, pills later identified as Gabapentin, were allegedly found in Pouha’s socks.
Bail for Pouha has been set at $23,500.