WEST VALLEY CITY — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper narrowly escaped injury Friday afternoon when a man allegedly fired a shot at him while he tried to arrest an apparent acquaintance.
"He heard (the bullet) whiz past his head, so I believe there was intent to take the trooper out," said UHP Capt. Steve Winward.
The trooper, a two-year veteran, was "shaken up" but otherwise not injured, Winward said.
The incident began just before 2:30 p.m on I-215 when another motorist flagged the trooper over to report a reckless driver, Winward said. The trooper spotted the vehicle, a four-door red Honda, and attempted to pull it over. The female driver initially refused, he said.
"As the vehicle passed the 3500 South on-ramp, the vehicle made a U-turn and tried to go the wrong direction down the ramp," Winward said.
The woman then stopped her car, got out and ran, he said. The trooper chased after her and tackled her as he attempted to place her under arrest.
"As he did so, another black two-door (car), we believe a Honda, did the same motion, where he came down the on-ramp the wrong way, paused for a second and took a shot at the trooper trying to take the female into custody," Winward said.
As he did so, another black two-door (car), we believe a Honda, did the same motion, where he came down the on-ramp the wrong way, paused for a second and took a shot at the trooper trying to take the female into custody.
–UHP Capt. Steve Winward
The black vehicle, believed to be a Honda Civic, then drove off in the direction of Valley Fair Mall. Winward said the driver shot through his passenger side window at the officer.
The trooper was not injured, but investigators believe the shot was "intended for him" and not a warning round. The trooper did not return fire.
The woman, whose name or age were not immediately released, was taken to a local hospital for a mental evaluation and to be treated for minor injuries incurred in the scuffle, Winward said.
"We believe that the female and the (alleged gunman) may have been in communication with each other," he said.
Both the woman's vehicle and the alleged gunman's vehicle were believed to be stolen, he said. West Valley police assisted the UHP in locating the vehicle at 3100 S. 1900 West.
The Department of Public Safety helicopter was being used to look for the man. The on-ramp from 3500 South was closed while troopers investigated the incident, reopening shortly before 6 p.m.
Anyone with information can call police at 801-840-4000.