A Tooele City man who threatened his stepfather with a knife before leading police on a chase through city limits will serve time in jail for the incident.
In August, Michael Neely, 23, was having an argument with his stepfather, during the course of which he held a long-bladed knife to the older man’s throat, according to case documents. When Neely’s mother intervened, Neely punched the man in the face and broke a phone being used to call 911. He next drove away from the house in a red Dodge Neon.
While officers from the Tooele City Police Department responded to the incident, a deputy from the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office spotted Neely’s Neon and tried to pull him over.
Neely gave chase, going from 400 North to Broadway, then west on 1000 North and turning north on Main Street, where he crashed into a car in the southbound lane. Neely got out of the car and ran through the parking lot of Performance Auto, and the deputy and a bystander ran after him.
He was caught by another officer from the Tooele City Police Department near All-Star Bowling Lanes, and was transported to Mountain West Medical Center for evaluation.
Neely’s attorney, Derrick Larson, said Neely had no memory of the event and had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder at the time.
“These [events] were all part of the same episode; they all happened at the same time,” Larson said in court Tuesday. “He does have a job. He is addressing his issues.”
Larson said Neely had been undergoing treatment, and believed he could now control his impulses without the aid of medication. But he was amenable to medication or any treatment programs the court ruled he should use.
Neely apologized for his behavior and said he was grateful no one was hurt during the incident.
“I’m very remorseful about what I did and I recognize that I could have hurt a lot of people,” he said. “It really scares me that I can’t remember a lot of it. I think I have God to thank that nobody got hurt, especially the officers who were pursuing me. I understand they were just doing their jobs.”
Larson urged Judge Robert Adkins to suspend incarceration for Neely, who had served 40 days in jail after being arrested, to help him keep his job and continue with treatment.
Tooele County Deputy Attorney Robert Clegg, however, disagreed.
“Sometimes people need to serve jail time for what they did, and I believe this is one of those cases,” he said. “You can’t hold a knife to someone’s throat and lead police officers on a chase through the county and not receive some sort of punishment beyond 40 days in jail.”
Adkins sentenced Neely to up to five years in prison, and two one-year jail sentences, but suspended them in lieu of three years of probation and 180 days in the Tooele County Detention Center, less credit for the 40 days Neely already served.
In addition, Neely was ordered to get any and all anger management and other therapy necessary and complete 200 hours of community service.