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Wendover man charged in UDOT trailer arson

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Firefighters work to extinguish a burning trailer owned by the Utah Department of Transportation on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.

Wendover Fire Department

SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of setting fire to a trailer owned by the Utah Department of Transportation was charged Thursday.

Joshua Dee Gonzales, 28, of Wendover, was charged in Tooele County’s 3rd District Court with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, and criminal mischief, a second-degree felony.

On Wednesday at about 3:15 a.m., Wendover police and fire crews responded to the UDOT employee compound, 3001 E. Frontage Road, on a report of two trailers on fire, according to charging documents. Gonzales lived in one of the trailers, and the other was an unoccupied trailer that the fire spread to, the charges state.

A UDOT supervisor arrived on scene and reviewed surveillance video with investigators. The video “shows an image of an individual that strongly resembled Joshua Gonzales trying to light the front porch on fire, he would go in and out of the house also lighting the back porch on fire,” the charges state.

According to a press release from the Wendover Police Department, “The trailers were fully engulfed and the West Wendover Fire Department was called to assist. Wendover police investigators determined that a resident of the UDOT compound had deliberately set a single-wide trailer on fire which caused a vacant nearby trailer to burn. Both trailers were completely destroyed.”

Gonzales was found a short distance away and arrested.

On June 9, Gonzales pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, which was amended to a class A misdemeanor, for trying to stab his father in May, according to charging documents. A warrant was issued for his arrest in that case on July 28 when he failed to show up for sentencing, according to court records.