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“What If” Part 3

Was I the only one Nervous?  I do not rightly know but I’m hoping not.  I do not remember but at some time I called my wife and told her that I could not talk long but to please say a prayer because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen at work. 

    While en-route to the location I notified Richfield dispatch of these happenings. I had a feeling I needed to let my Sergeant know of what I was doing. I radioed Richfield and asked them to notify him. The whole time I was en-route to the scene I notified Richfield dispatch of any radio traffic and information that was coming across from Sanpete County. This would turn out to be very important to me later. Finally, I arrived at the area where Spring City Canyon Rd turns from an Oiled road to a Dirt Rd.

    When I arrived, I met with the Deputy Jeff Greenwell. He relayed to me that the suspect was in the stolen truck about 25 yards east and 100 Yards north of our location. We had parked behind some trees to provide some concealment until the others arrived. Another Sgt for the Utah Highway Patrol checked on duty and Richfield made him aware of the situation. As he lives in the area he headed our way to assist. I exited my vehicle, put on my safety glasses and readied my Patrol Rifle. I failed to mention that I had said several prayers at this point that things would go safely. However, deep inside I had a feeling this was not going to end without incident

    The Sergeant with the UHP stationed on the north end of the dirt road that the Suspect was on but out of site. He also prepared his spike strips in case the suspect became mobile and headed north.  It was also where the vehicle owner had stationed himself and I believe was watching through binoculars. It was believed that the vehicle owner’s brother had stationed himself somewhere west of the stolen vehicle and was laying in the sagebrush also watching through binoculars. The Sergeant, Captain, Detective and Ephraim officer had arrived. We then began formulating a plan. During this planning stage a white ford Pickup with a utility bed came flying up the road. I stopped the truck. It was a spring city worker that stated one of his employees was further up the canyon at the hydroelectric plant and was wondering what to do. We decided he should stay there as it was far up the road and would be safer than trying to drive out of the canyon at that point.

    The Ephraim officer had brought his sniper rifle and had walked 25 yards up the road to see if he could look through the binoculars and see the vehicle and suspect. He shortly returned to relay that he believed the back window was broken out because he could see the individual too clear for there to be a window. He also told us that he could see the individual waving around what he believed to be a handgun.

    The Sanpete County Deputy got on the radio or phone I cannot remember but asked for an Ambulance and Life Flight be put on standby. During the planning it was mentioned that maybe we should call in a S.W.A.T team. It was decided by the Sanpete County Sheriff Office Captain that there was not time to do so. He felt that time was critical and that we needed to act. It was decided that the original responding deputy would station himself and his vehicle to contain the south end in case the suspect became mobile to the south. The Detective would stay on the oiled road to keep the public form coming into the scene.

    Many people since these events have and will second guess and criticize our decisions. I say our decisions because we all made a decision to be there. We all made a decision to take action to keep the public safe and enforce the laws we had all taken an oath to uphold. Monday Morning Quarterbacking is easy to do. However, I feel the actions we took were appropriate and necessary.

    Myself, Sheriff Office Captain, Sergeant, and Ephraim Officer decided to spread out and walk across the field to assess the situation and apprehend the offender. We walked some 75 yds across the sagebrush foothill and I could see the Stolen Vehicle another 40 yds or so to our northeast on the dirt road that T intersects with the Spring City Canyon Road and heads North on the far east was myself. Then to the left of me the Captain, Sergeant, then Ephraim Officer. I took cover behind a Cedar tree, as we were in open country and it was the best cover I could use. The captain took concealment behind some large sagebrush. He relayed to me he could not see but only the top of the truck.

    About this time, you could hear him (the Suspect) talking on the phone to his mother. She had come on scene where we had left our cars. She had met up with the Detective. I could hear her telling him (the Suspect) to give himself up. At this point I do not believe he knew we were there. He continued to talk to his mother on the phone. She continued to ask him to, JUST GIVE UP!!!! His reply was steadily the same… JUST TAKE CARE OF MY BOY!!! Around this time, it appeared that the Detective had begun talking to the Suspect on the phone. The Suspect wanted to talk to his wife and the detective kept telling him that could not happen at that point and to give himself up. Again, the suspects reply was the same…. TAKE CARE OF MY BOY!!

    This conversation continued, and the suspect exited the vehicle. I could see him step out and stand by the bed of the truck. He was very uneasy and restless. He again got back into the truck. Shortly thereafter he exited the truck and stood on the floor board and looked back toward the paved portion of the canyon road, I believe to see if he could see his mother and the detective. Again, he got back into the truck and shut the door. During this time, he was still on the phone with the detective. I believe he also stated that if he could see his wife no one would get hurt. At a later time, the Sergeant with the Sheriff Office relayed to me that he heard the suspect say that if he did not get to talk to his wife, he was going shoot someone.

    It seemed that this would go on for a while on the phone, but I was wrong. It was shortly after that that he started the truck and put it in drive. I radioed to the UHP Sergeant that the suspect was headed Northbound. The suspect drove the truck about another 100 yds north from our location. He then hit the brakes did a U Turn and headed southbound. I got back on the radio and informed the UHP Sergeant the Suspect was now Southbound back toward our location. This was important for me to do because it also informed Richfield Dispatch what was going on. Around this time my cell phone began to ring. OF COURSE, I DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO ANSWER IT!

    The Captain ran behind me to the east to head off the suspect because he believed the suspect was probably going to continue southbound and go past us. I did not know what the suspects intentions were, and I felt it prudent to stay in my location with cover behind the cedar tree. Just at that point the Suspect, still mobile in the stolen vehicle, jerked the wheel and turned west down a dirt road I did not know was there. He stopped right in front of me just 14 yds to the north.

    I am not exactly a small individual.  So, you can see that me taking cover behind a small cedar tree was not going to last long.  If he looked to his left, he would surly see me.  My training took over.  I raised my rifle, and with a loud voice yelled police and gave him a command to put his hands up.  In one way I guess he did as I told him.  He did in fact put his hands up.  The only problem was that his right hand contained a silver and black handgun pointed at me.  Yes, a silver and black handgun pointed directly at me.  The barrel of the handgun at that very minute looked like I was looking down the barrel of a cannon.


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