Former Utah politician found safe after failing to return from New Year's Eve run

A former Utah politician was found safe Monday after getting stuck while coming back from a New Year’s Eve run, police said.

St. George police say Chad Bennion had driven out to an area called Slaughter Creek near the Nevada Border. After he was finished with his run, he began driving back and got lost on a side road.

St. George police Sgt. Dave Williams said Bennion found himself at a dead end in a box canyon and his car became stuck in the mud. Williams said at that point Bennion thought it would be better to “hunker down for the night.”

Bennion couldn’t get his car unstuck the next day either. After a second night, he decided to hike out and he eventually found a hunter who was scouting for mountain lions, Fox 13 Now reported.

The hunter was able to tow Bennion car’s out to help him get to his family.

Williams said Bennion was in good condition and had enough food and other essentials in his car.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Bennion was an elite runner in the 1990s and sought to run for the U.S. Olympic Team in the 1992 Games in Barcelona. He finished 14th in trials.

Bennion had represented several parts of Utah in the state Legislature from 1999 to 2005. He won a Salt Lake County election to become the county’s Republican Party chairman in 2013.

Bennion resigned from his position in 2014 after he was charged with six misdemeanor counts of domestic violence in an altercation with his then-wife, who he was about to divorce.

The case was resolved after pleading abeyance to a disorderly conduct count and agreeing to take an anger management class, according to court records. The rest of the charges were dismissed.

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