Police have released more details regarding the Friday night arrest of a 32-year-old Smithfield man, who is accused of burning two children with a cleaning solvent and then trying to flee from officers multiple times. Jason Summers is being held in the Cache County Jail on suspicion of child abuse, obstructing justice, attempting to escape from custody and other offenses.
Smithfield City Police Chief Travis Allen said officers received a call around 7:15 p.m. from a woman, claiming that a neighbor had thrown something on her child.
“Officers responded and observed severe burns on the child’s face,” explained Allen. “[The victim’s] five-year-old brother had told mom that the neighbor had thrown something on the three-year-old. Officers approached the neighbor, who denied knowing anything about anything going on.
“It just so happens that there is surveillance from the victim’s home that showed our suspect approach the child. It appeared that he had something in his hand and threw it in that child’s direction. Then you see the child running away from him.”
When officers attempted to arrest Summers, he tried to run away on foot towards his house. They caught up to him and took him into custody.
Allen said Summers was then treated at the hospital for an injured foot. Afterwards, while an officer was transporting him to jail, the suspect tried to escape again.
“The suspect advised officers that he was going to throw-up and so officers rolled the window partially down for our suspect. At about 400 North Main Street [Logan], the suspect was able to unlatch his safety restraint and stick his head out of the patrol vehicle, followed by his shoulders, and he was actually able to remove himself from the police car. At that point, he landed on Main Street and officers immediately stopped and took him back into custody.”
Summers was transported back to the hospital and treated for minor injuries, before being booked into jail. He will likely be arraigned on formal charges this week.
Both children were initially treated at Logan Regional Hospital. The three-year-old sustained more severe burns to his face, eyes and chest. He was later taken to the University of Utah Burn Center. The five-year-old had minor burns on his back and was later released.
Allen said officers are still trying to determine the substance that Summer’s allegedly threw on the two boys.
“We had to have Bear River Health Department come out and analyze it. We have recovered it. It will be sent to the crime lab for testing, to see if we can find out exactly what it is. We do know that whatever it was, it shows some consistency as like a drain cleaner, causing those types of burns but I do not know for sure what the exact substance was.”
Officers are still unsure of a motive because Summers has continued to refuse to speak with them. It appears the “crystal” type substance was wrapped up inside a paper towel, when thrown at the boys. Neighbors report the suspect had been acting “odd in recent months.”
Police have had previous involvements with Summers. In 2016, he was convicted of discharging a firearm and possession of drugs, after he broke into an LDS Church and then tried to shoot at a neighbor. He was ordered to serve 90-days in jail and then placed on probation for one-year.