SCIPIO, Millard County, Utah (KSL) — A man was taken into custody Wednesday after he allegedly stole a deputy’s SUV and fled in it, causing police to shut down I-15 for hours in both directions during a search that included officers being shot at, officials said.
According to officials, at about 4 p.m. two deputies initiated a traffic stop. During the stop, “the suspect they had detained was able to steal a deputy’s truck” and drive away, Juab County Sheriff Douglas Anderson said. Two deputies and a female passenger were left behind, but a K-9 was taken along with the SUV, KSL TV reported.
Utah Highway Patrol pursued the suspect for 2 miles and gunfire was exchanged at a freeway exit, with multiple shots striking troopers’ vehicles, though they were not injured. The suspect may have been hurt then and fled again on foot, causing officials to shut down I-15 in both directions.
Anderson said he believes the suspect followed a tunnel beneath the freeway before coming out on the west side of I-15. The suspect was then discovered by troopers either near or in the Sevier River and taken into custody. He was then taken to a hospital to receive medical care.
On Thursday, Anderson identified the man as 32-year-old James Klein. Further details about the incident weren’t available Thursday morning.
Officials said that a passerby in a car was injured, although it is not clear when the injury occurred during the incident. The passerby’s injuries weren’t considered to be life-threatening and the K-9 was not injured.
UDOT officials tweeted at about 4:50 p.m. that all lanes of northbound I-15 near Sevier River and southbound I-15 near Yuba State Park were closed due to a police incident. At 5:17 p.m., UDOT notified drivers in another tweet that southbound I-15 was then closed near Chicken Creek and northbound I-15 was closed near Scipio. The freeway reopened in both directions after 8 p.m., though it took time to clear significant delays.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon, Millard County Sheriff’s Office warned residents to be on the lookout for a man that was armed with a rifle and considered very dangerous. The sheriff’s office in the same post referenced the active police incident in the Yuba State Park area. The post, with a photo of the man that authorities were looking for, has since been deleted.
Two troopers have been placed on administrative leave following the incident.
Contributing: Garna Mejia and Felicia Martinez, KSL TV; Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com
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