SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper suffered minor injuries when he was forced to jump from a moving semi after the driver ignored commands not to drive through a closed road, according to the UHP.
Barry Loveall, 61, was arrested for investigation of aggravated assault, failing to stop for law enforcement, and failing to observe a traffic barricade.
The incident happened about 7:20 a.m. Tuesday on I-215 on the west belt loop. UHP Lt. Nick Street said the trooper noticed a fuel spill at the top of the 1300 South off-ramp and decided to close the road until it could be cleaned up.
While traffic was being closed in the area, a semitruck with no trailers pulled up to the closure area, Street said. The truck stopped as the trooper jumped up on the passenger side to talk to the driver through the window, he said.
“The trooper stopped the individual and was on the steps of the semi speaking with the driver when the driver fled with the trooper still on the side of the semi. The trooper came off of the semi and fell to the ground,” according to a police affidavit.
The trooper told the driver that the road was closed and he needed to find another exit. For an unknown reason, the driver ignored the trooper’s commands and started driving again while the trooper was still hanging onto the rig, Street said.
The trooper jumped from the semi and rolled several times, causing minor injuries to shoulders, arms and back, Street said.
The incident was witnessed by a Utah Department of Transportation worker who was helping with the road closure. From the UDOT employee’s viewpoint, he believed the trooper had actually been hit by the semi and sent out an urgent call on his work radio for help, according to the lieutenant.
The semi was later located by troopers in a convenience store parking lot near 300 West and 3300 South where two troopers called Loveall out of the cab at gunpoint, the affidavit states.
When interviewed by investigators, Loveall said he ignored the trooper and the road closure “because he thought the trooper was a construction worker,” according to the affidavit.