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Police: Man arrested in freeway shootout says he was trying to scare officers, see his mom

A Provo man accused of engaging in a shootout with police on I-15 in Layton earlier this week has been moved from a hospital to the Davis County Jail. He allegedly said he was just trying to scare officers, hoping they'd stop chasing him.

A Provo man accused of engaging in a shootout with police on I-15 in Layton earlier this week has been moved from a hospital to the Davis County Jail. He allegedly said he was just trying to scare officers, hoping they'd stop chasing him. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)


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LAYTON — A man who police say engaged in a shootout with officers on the I-15 freeway in Layton earlier this week has been moved from a hospital to the Davis County Jail.

Michael John Buttel, 28, of Provo, was arrested for investigation of 21 crimes, including three counts of assault on an officer and six counts of shooting a gun from a vehicle.

The recent incident marks the third time Buttel has been arrested in just the past month, according to court records.

Just before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, a Layton resident near 1400 North and 350 West woke up to find a car she did not recognize running in her driveway with a driver inside whom she did not know.

An officer responded to the area and found the vehicle, which was then parked partially in the road and partially in another driveway down the street. The driver, Buttel, was asleep. The officer saw a gun sticking out of his pocket and called for backup before waking Buttel, according to a police booking affidavit.

"Once other officers arrived, they positioned their vehicles to try and block Michael's vehicle from being able to flee. Officers then activated the emergency (red and blue) lights on their vehicles and called out to Michael from behind the cover of their vehicles. Officers identified themselves as police, told Michael to step out of the vehicle," the affidavit states.

Instead, Buttel put his car in reverse, drove over a yard and took out a mailbox, then continued onto the road where it hit two police patrol cars, according to police.

He fled on Hill Field Road where an officer in an unmarked patrol car followed while other officers prepared tire spikes ahead, according to police. Layton police say they wanted to avoid getting into a chase with Buttel during the busy morning commute if they could.

Police say Buttel soon realized he was being followed and attempted to get away. Near University Park Boulevard, officers successfully deployed spikes. But Buttel kept driving and got onto I-15 heading south, "even though several of his tires had been shredded and he was driving on the vehicle rims," the affidavit states.

"Several officers began to conduct a slowdown maneuver on I-15 so as to create separation from Michael's vehicle and the heavy morning traffic. Michael still refused to stop and continued south on I-15," according to the arrest report.

Just after 7 a.m., officers reported shots were fired at them as Buttel was traveling 55 mph. One officer heard six to eight shots. Police then attempted to stop Buttel's car using a PIT maneuver. But Buttel again shot at police and two officers returned fire, according to Layton police. The affidavit says police fired a total of three shots.

Two minutes later, Buttel's vehicle crashed. This time, he surrendered without further incident and officers discovered that he had been shot.

On Thursday, before being booked into jail, detectives interviewed Buttel at the hospital.

"Michael admitted he fled from officers because he knew he had warrants for his arrest and that he was in a stolen vehicle. Micheal admitted he had stolen the vehicle while in Centerville and he drove to Centerville in another stolen vehicle. He admitted he stole the Smith and Wesson handgun during this time frame. Michael admitted he knew police were chasing him, but he didn't want to stop because he wanted to see his mother," the affidavit alleges.

He claimed he fired several shots in the air "in an attempt to scare the officers," hoping they would stop chasing him, but also conceded that "he understood why law enforcement officers shot at him, and he would have thought he was being shot at if he had been in their position," according to the affidavit.

Police also noted Buttel's recent criminal history. According to arrest reports filed in court:

  • On Nov. 4, he was arrested in Orem and accused of trying to use stolen credit cards at University Mall. When he was arrested, police reported finding a gun and drugs in his possession.
  • On Nov. 17, Buttel was arrested by West Valley police during a drug investigation. Investigators watched as Buttel pulled up to an apartment complex in a car reported stolen out of Orem. He then ran from officers trying to arrest him and was eventually chased down.
  • In October, Buttel was also arrested in Utah County for investigation of drug-related charges.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.

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