ALBION — He was the second person in Noble County to be charged with a Level 5 felony under an enhanced penalty for resisting law enforcement with a vehicle.
Now, Kenny N. Gutierrez, 42, of Ligonier, has become the first to be charged with the enhancement twice following an incident Tuesday in Ligonier.
Gutierrez was arrested at 1:49 p.m. Tuesday by Ligonier police on charges of being a habitual traffic law violator-lifetime, a Level 5 felony; and resisting law enforcement, a Level 5 felony.
Gutierrez had been out on bond on identical charges following an alleged pursuit with Kendallville police which took place in April of this year.
During an initial hearing Wednesday, the Noble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asked Noble Circuit Court Judge Michael Kramer to revoke Gutierrez’s bond in the April case.
Kramer agreed, meaning Gutierrez will have to stay in the Noble County Jail until at least his next hearing on the April matter, which has been set for June 27.
Regarding the latest incident, Kramer asked Gutierrez if he wanted to speak on his own behalf regarding bond.
“I won’t be on the road,” Gutierrez said via video conference from the jail. “My parents already took my vehicle. If you give me a bond, you won’t be having any trouble from me.”
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jamie Groves pointed to Gutiierrez’ long criminal history of driving offenses
“His word means nothing,” Groves said.
Groves asked that Kramer set Gutierrez’ bond at $100,000, well above the presumptive bond for a Level 5 felony which is $10,000.
Kramer set the bond at $100,000, which can only be posted if Gutierrez receives a new bond in his April case.
The next court date for Gutierrez in regards to this week’s arrest will be at 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 22.
In the latest incident, A Ligonier police officer who knew of Gutierrez driving record saw him get into a vehicle and drive away. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle at 1:44 p.m. Tuesday.
Gutierrez initially stopped, according to Ligonier Police Chief Bryan Shearer, but then sped away and the pursuit was on.
Gutierrez eventually parked his car and fled on foot. He was apprehended on Sroufe Street at 1:49 p.m. by off-duty part-time Ligonier Patrolman Shawn Cox, who had been in the area and came to assist.
“It was a team effort,” Shearer said.
A bill signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 26, 2021, elevated resisting arrest with a motor vehicle to a Level 5 felony if the person has a previous conviction for that offense, which is normally a Level 6 felony. A Level 5 felony carries a sentencing range of 1-6 years in prison. A Level 6 felony carries a sentencing range of six months to 2 1/2 years.
Gutierrez had pleaded guilty July 6, 2018, to a resisting law enforcement with a vehicle regarding an incident which occurred on Feb. 6 of that year in Allen County.
He was then arrested April 17 of this year by Kendallville police on charges of resisting law enforcement, a Level 5 felony; and being a habitual traffic law violator-lifetime, a Level 5 felony.
During an initial hearing following that April arrest in Noble Circuit Court, Kramer denied Gutierrez’ request to have the public defender’s office provide his legal representation. Gutierrez was ordered to find his own attorney.
Kramer set Gutierrez’ bond at $50,000.
He posted bond and was released April 22.
On April 17, Kendallville Police Department Sgt. Nate Stahl observed a beige 1999 GMC Sierra pickup in the 1100 block of Angling Road. The license plate on the pickup had expired. A search through BMV records showed the owner of the truck had a suspended driver’s license. Stahl attempted to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle.
Gutierrez, the driver of the pickup, failed to pull over. Gutierrez continued northbound on Angling Road and allegedly began throwing items out of the driver’s side window, according to court documents. The pickup slowed as it reached C.R. 800N, then sped up again, turning south into a field of corn stubble.
The truck exited the field and fled south on Angling Road. Speeds reached up to approximately 100 mph, court filings alleged.
Gutierrez entered the Carriage House Ap0artment complex at 340 Angling Road by going off the road and through a grass yard. He then allegedly exited his driver’s seat while the vehicle was still in motion.
Gutierrez allegedly fled on foot while the pickup crashed into a tree on the complex property.
Gutierrez then ran to an apartment building and began banging on an apartment door.
Stahl and Kendallville Patrolman Joshua Desormeaux were able to take him into custody.
Gutierrez’ next court appearance regarding that April arrest is scheduled for June 27 in Noble Circuit Court.
In January, Gavin W. Renkenberger, 32, of the 200 block of Cherry Street, Kendallville, became the first person charged under the repeat resisting law enforcement with a vehicle enhancement.
According to the court website public.courts.in.gov, Renkenberger pleaded guilty to resisting and OWI-endangerment charges on Dec. 13, 2016, in Noble Superior Court 1. Renkenberger was ordered to serve 363 days on probation and was given credit for two days time served in the Noble County Jail.
Regarding the January case, Renkenberger’s next court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in Noble Circuit Court.