VERNAL — Charging documents filed Monday against a Vernal man accused of shooting at a Uintah County sheriff's deputy detail just how potentially deadly the incident was.
More than half of the 19 shots fired by Dallas Rowley from a .223-caliber rifle hit the patrol truck driven by deputy Mike Lourenco, according to the charges filed in 8th District Court.
Rowley, 66, is charged with attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and failure to respond to an officer's command to stop, a third-degree felony.
Lourenco spotted Rowley's vehicle parked on the side of Red Wash Road near the intersection with state Route 45 about 9 p.m. Thursday. The deputy stopped to see if anyone needed help, and found Rowley in the driver's seat.
Lourenco could smell the odor of alcohol and saw a handgun within Rowley's reach, according to the charges, and the deputy asked him to exit the vehicle. Instead Rowley drove away, then stopped at an angle that allowed him to fire from inside his vehicle at the approaching deputy's truck, the charges state.
A sheriff's detective said he examined the truck after the shooting and found at least 10 places where bullets from an AR-15 rifle struck the vehicle.
"Three bullet holes are in the windshield in a pattern that would have hit deputy Lourenco in the chest, neck or head if he had remained in an upright, seated position."
"The general grouping of the bullet impacts are on the driver side," the detective wrote in an affidavit used to secure a warrant for Rowley's arrest. "Three bullet holes are in the windshield in a pattern that would have hit deputy Lourenco in the chest, neck or head if he had remained in an upright, seated position."
Lourenco escaped injury by laying across the passenger seat and putting the truck in reverse when he saw Rowley pointing a rifle at him, the charges state.
A two-day manhunt for Rowley ended peacefully Saturday when he surrendered to Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell in The Book Cliffs.
Rowley is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday. He is being held in the Uintah County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.