Mark Joseph Wilkins has pled guilty to all the charges against him after he was accused of leading police officers on a chase that led to the death of La Paz County Sheriff’s Sergeant Mike Rudd last year.
Late in the evening of October 11th, 2021, a report went out about an individual who had used a fraudulent credit card at an area business, along with a description of the vehicle. When the Quartzsite Police Department initiated a traffic stop at milepost 112 on State Route 95, Wilkins, 39 years old, fled. The chase ended at milepost 37 on I-10 after his vehicle was disabled by officers using spike strips. Wilkins was taken into custody after a foot pursuit and scuffle with officers, according to reports. Sergeant Rudd, who had been standing at the roadside, was then struck by a passing semi truck. Rudd was transported to hospital in Blythe but later died from his injuries.
In addition to unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/dangerous instrument, resisting arrest, and possession or use of dangerous drugs, the State alleged statutory aggravators.
Last Friday, Wilkins pled guilty to 8 charges and aggravators, and also admitted to his prior felony convictions.
“The defendant pled guilty in open court without the benefit of a plea agreement on March 11th,” Deputy La Paz County Attorney Ryan Dooley told Parker Live. “He is looking at up to 208 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.”
Wilkins will be sentenced by Judge Robert C. Olson on April 8th. La Paz County Sheriff William Ponce said that Rudd was the first deputy to be killed in the line of duty since the office was established in 1983. Rudd had joined the department in 2013.