BRIDGEPORT, WV (WBOY) — A Wetzel County man has been charged with child neglect after an incident in July 2020 which resulted in a child losing multiple fingers in a UTV accident.
On July 21, 2020, deputies with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to RG Honda in Harrison County in reference to an accident with injuries involving a juvenile, according to a criminal complaint.
On that date, a UTV had rolled over and a juvenile male sustained injuries as a result of the accident, and when deputies arrived on scene, they “could see that EMS had already left the scene,” deputies said.
Upon speaking to management at the business, deputies learned that Johnathan St. John, 28, of Littleton “had just purchased an 800 Polaris Razor,” and when St. John attempted to load the UTV on his trailer, he “drove at a high rate of speed around the parking lot with [a] child in the front seat,” according to the complaint.
At that point, the UTV “flipped over” and “the small child riding in the passenger seat got his hand stuck under the roll bar,” when the UTV rolled over, at which point the child was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, deputies said.
When deputies reviewed footage from he incident, they saw that the child “was not placed in a helmet or seatbelt,” and that St. John put the child “in the passenger seat and then took off at a high rate of speed,” according to the complaint.
After being taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, the child had to be transported to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital were he would be treated for several weeks, and, as a result of the incident, the child “lost his middle finger, ring finger, and the top of his pinky on his right hand,” deputies said.
The child was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services directly after the incident, and St. John was not arrested at that time due to the boy receiving multiple medical procedures, according to deputies.
In order to take the case to court, the sheriff’s department needed the documentation of those procedures, as well as other documents from the Department of Health and Human Resources; after receiving that documentation, the criminal complaint was filed for St. John in January, and he was later charged in February, deputies said.
During that time, the child was in no further danger from St. John due to being in CPS custody, according to deputies.
St. John has been charged with gross child neglect. He is being held in North Central Regional Jail on $50,000 bond.