Christensen pleads guilty to DUI-drug, resisting arrest

SPD Body Cam Still Image: Chad Christensen is shown here yelling at an officer during a traffic stop in April 2020. He recently pleaded guilty to DUI-drug and resisting arrest and was sentenced to three years on standard probation after accepting a plea agreement on May 3.

Sentenced to three years on probation

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Chad Fredrick Christensen, 50, of Thatcher, was sentenced May 3 to three years of standard supervised probation after pleading guilty to DUI-drug and resisting arrest charges.

Christensen’s plea agreement dropped four charges of aggravated assault against a police officer, a secondary DUI charge, and false reporting to law enforcement.

Grham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson sentenced Christensen on one charge of resisting arrest – a Class-6 open-ended felony, and DUI-drug – a Class-1 misdemeanor. The felony could be reduced to a misdemeanor if Christensen is successful on probation. Judge Peterson also ordered Christensen to complete an alcohol screening and education treatment program within six months of the sentencing date and complete any evaluation and treatment, including outpatient services at the discretion of his probation officer. If Christensen fails to be successful on probation, he will be sentenced to 180 days in jail, as per his plea agreement. As it is now, the jail term is suspended pending compliance with probation. Christensen’s driver’s license will also be suspended for 90 days by the Motor Vehicle Division for the DUI-drug conviction.

The charges stem from a traffic stop that went awry on April 16, 2020. According to Safford Police reports, Christensen was extremely agitated after being pulled over for minor traffic violations and appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug. Officers had encountered Christensen earlier in the day and noted he could not stand still and was making very fast, animated, jerky movements.

During the traffic stop, Christensen exhibited the same type of behavior, which led the officer to begin a DUI-drug investigation. Christensen later advised he had taken various prescription medications that morning without food as recommended. The medications were later found in a safe in Christensen’s truck, along with a .45-caliber handgun. A large Bowie knife and a wooden club were also located inside the truck.

SPD Photo: Chad Christensen

On Aug. 13, the Safford Police received a toxicology report from the Arizona Department of Public Safety Southern Regional Crime Laboratory regarding a blood sample taken from Christensen during his arrest. The report listed Christensen was positive for amphetamine at 92 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/ml) and methamphetamine at 160 ng/ml of blood.  

Body camera footage from the investigating officer during the traffic stop shows Christensen acting erratically and repeatedly cursing at the officer while calling family members to respond to the scene to video the interaction. When the officer requested Christensen’s driver’s license and registration – an everyday occurrence during a traffic stop – he was met with an accusation of harassment. 

After receiving the required documents, the officer told Christensen to exit the vehicle, and Christensen initially refused. Christensen then abruptly opened his truck door, slightly striking the officer in the process. 

Christensen then closed the door and again refused to exit his truck and had to be forcibly removed from the vehicle. He then seemingly resisted as the officers attempted to place him into custody. At that time, his wife drove up to the scene and stopped in the middle of the street. 

The following video contains profanities from Christensen and is not safe for work (NSFW) audio with viewer discretion advised.

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