Escaped inmate leads police on brief chase before capture

By McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

Published: Sun, Aug. 17, 2014, 10:05 p.m. MDT

(Deseret News Archives)

SALT LAKE CITY — An inmate who escaped from the Salt Lake County Jail's garden led police on a brief manhunt Sunday night.

Jonathon Steven Mize, 43, jumped the garden's chain link fence about 6:20 p.m. and fled northbound, Salt Lake County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cammie Skogg said. Mize had been assigned to the garden Aug. 11.

Mize was located two hours later at an auto wrecking company near 600 West and 3300 South. He and as many as a dozen people possibly connected to the escape were taken into police custody without incident about 8:25 p.m., Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.

Winder said Mize had planned the escape prior to reporting to the garden Sunday. Mize now faces possible additional felony charges and considerable jail time, he said.

"It was a planned event. He clearly had intentions to escape and he clearly had some support, we're in the process of find out out exactly what has gone on," Winder said.

Mize has a long history of theft, burglary and drug-related charges dating back to 1994. He most recently pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to providing false personal information, a class A misdemeanor, while charges of retail theft, a third-degree felony, and assault, a class B misdemeanor, were dismissed.

He was booked into jail in January for warrants alleging retail theft, providing false false information, identity fraud, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, Skogg said.

Winder said Mize is a minimum security prisoner and was not suspected to be violent or a public safety risk. The escape attempt is puzzling, he said.

"We're not quite sure why he chose to escape considering his placement with the programming unit, which is really your next step to getting out of here," Winder said.

Winder said, to his knowledge, this is the first escape from the garden program.

Contributing: Andrew Adams

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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1. Martin Handcart Descendant
Azusa, CA,
Aug. 18, 2014

"Mize has a long history of theft, burglary and drug-related charges dating back to 1994." That's 20 years! This guy is definitely not fit to live in society. How long does our system continue to be so soft on illegal activity and allow criminals to roam our streets to do more harm to upright citizens? When are we going to learn? Until it becomes less rewarding to be a criminal than to be a law-abiding citizen, these types will continue to be criminals.

2. John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT,
Aug. 18, 2014

Martin is correct. This man escaped because the Salt Lake County Council has gotten soft on crime. Instead of providing the funding to lock up dangerous criminals, the council apparently believes that it is better to pass out balloons and lollipops. This brazen escape is proof positive of the failure of that policy.