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Uintah County Sheriff's Office

Former UHP trooper sentenced in connection with June 2017 wildfire near Vernal

By Jacob Klopfenstein, | Posted - Apr 19th, 2018 @ 11:04pm

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VERNAL — A former Utah Highway Patrol trooper has been ordered to serve six months in jail and pay more than $482,000 in restitution after officials say he intentionally started a fire while on duty last June.

Rex Richard Olsen, 38, was sentenced Tuesday in Vernal’s 8th District Court for third-degree felony arson, according to court records.

In addition to the jail time and restitution, Olsen was sentenced to 36 months probation, according to an emailed statement from Utah Attorney General spokeswoman Cindy Reinhard. A prison sentence of one to five years was suspended, according to court documents.

Olsen deliberately set a fire in a wildland area near a highway in Maeser in Uintah County on June 9, 2017, according to Reinhard. He was on duty as a trooper when he started the fire, but is no longer employed with UHP, Reinhard said.

The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands investigated the incident, Reinhard said.

Olsen pleaded guilty to the charge on November 14, 2017. A restitution hearing is set for June 27 in Vernal.

Olsen is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in June for a similar case after he set a fire on Bureau of Land Management land in Uintah County, Reinhard said.

In January, Olsen pleaded guilty to one count underbrush and grass set afire, a class D felony, in that case, she said.


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