Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Chad Christensen was booked into the jail on charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, DUI, and false reporting to a police officer when he allegedly lied about having COVID-19 in an apparent attempt to avoid jail.
Wife also faces possible charges after responding to the scene
By Jon Johnson
THATCHER – A man who was pulled over for DUI received additional charges after resisting arrest and then reportedly lying about having contracted COVID-19 to avoid jail.
Chad Christensen, 49, was arrested Thursday, April 16, and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of DUI, aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and false reporting.
According to a Safford Police report, two Safford officers were on patrol when they pulled into the Twin Palms Trailer Park at 3589 W. Main St. in Thatcher and were approached by Christensen, who had been speaking with another man.
Christensen appeared to show indications of being under the influence of some type of drug, according to the officers’ reports, and he allegedly advised that the area was ripe with numerous criminal activity and said he would have evicted them all if Governor Doug Ducey would let him.
A short time later, the officers were picking up their lunch from the Eagle’s Roost nearby when they saw Christensen driving a truck and make a traffic violation. Due to their belief that Christensen was possibly impaired and the traffic violation, the officers attempted to make a traffic stop.
During the stop, Christensen was allegedly uncooperative and called for his wife, Brenda, to come to the scene, which she did. Also, when asked to exit the vehicle, Christensen struck one of the officers with the door, seemingly on purpose. Christensen refused to exit the truck, however and had to be forcibly removed, according to the officers’ reports.
Christensen then continued to struggle with the officers and resist arrest, resulting in abrasions to the officers’ hands, arms, and knees. At the same time officers were attempting to take Christensen into custody, Brenda Christensen arrived at the scene and caused a distraction by yelling at the officers and refusing their commands.
After Chad Christensen was handcuffed, he advised he had a gun and medication in his safe inside the truck but refused to open it. A probable search was then conducted on the truck and Pima’s drug K9 gave a positive hit on the area of the safe. Chad Christensen then told the officers the combination and a firearm and four different prescription pills were located. A large Bowie knife and a wooden club were also located inside the truck.
Chad Christensen allegedly told the officer that the various mediations he was taking was why he was acting so erratic and that on a scale of zero to 10 he was at a 9.5. A sobriety field test was given at the police department, which Chad Christensen failed.
After a sample of blood was taken for DUI testing purposes, Chad Christensen was transported to the jail. During transport, however, Chad Christensen began to cough and told the officers that he had contracted the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and had been up all night with a fever, according to the reports. He said he believed he contracted the virus from the man the officers saw him taking to earlier and said he had been with him all day yesterday and that the man had tested positive and had been seen by a doctor.
After booking Chad Christensen into the jail, the officers followed up with the man Christensen spoke about and he said he not only didn’t have COVID-19 but wasn’t sick at all and couldn’t remember the last time he had seen a doctor.
After reviewing surveillance footage showing Chad Christensen’s wife, Brenda, speeding to the scene, stopping in the middle of the road, honking at the officers while blocking the road, yelling at the officers and failing to follow commands to retreat to her vehicle, the officers requested Brenda Christensen be charged with failure to comply with a police officer.