A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper is in stable condition following a crash that occurred on U.S. 189 near Evanston, while pursuing a vehicle after the driver failed to stop. The trooper was flown to the University of Utah Hospital after his vehicle crashed when he swerved to avoid a collision with the suspect’s vehicle.
The incident began at approximately 10:10 P.M. on May 9, after troopers observed 48-year-old Walter Allen Hill from Fruit Heights, Utah driving a pickup truck that ran a stop sign at the bottom of the Exit 18 eastbound off-ramp, and then proceeded northbound on U.S.189. Troopers also observed the headlights of the pickup were not on, and only an LED light was being used.
Troopers attempted to stop Hill near milepost 1 on U.S. 189. Hill failed to stop, and increased his vehicle’s speed to over 100 M.P.H.. He turned off the LED light on the front of his vehicle and weaved between the north and southbound lanes. Lincoln County Law Enforcement deployed a tire deflation device, Stop Sticks, at M.P. 33. Hill avoided the Stop Sticks by turning around and traveling south.
Throughout the pursuit Hill was observed driving erratically, braking suddenly, and driving into the oncoming traffic lane. Troopers successfully deployed Stop Sticks at M.P. 26 on U.S. 189 causing the vehicle’s tires to deflate. Hill slowed the speed of his vehicle to 55 M.P.H. and turned off all the vehicle’s lights.
Another trooper who did not see Hill’s vehicle slow down, had to swerve to avoid a collision. The trooper exited the roadway and lost control of his patrol vehicle. The vehicle overturned several times before coming to rest off the roadway. The trooper sustained serious injuries during the crash and was flown to the University of Utah Hospital.
While one of the pursuing troopers stopped to render assistance to the injured trooper, another trooper continued the pursuit of Hill. As Hill continued south on U.S. 189, a trooper again successfully deployed Stop Sticks causing more of the vehicle’s tires to deflate.
Hill left the roadway near milepost 16 on U.S. 189 and exited his vehicle. He pointed a handgun at troopers and deputies, who were on-scene to assist, and refused to comply with commands to drop his weapon. Hill then fled on foot. As he was running away, he discharged his firearm. No one was struck.
Troopers, along with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, Evanston Police Department, Diamondville Police Department, Kemmerer Police Department, Cokeville Police Department, and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, pursued Hill and found him walking along a ridge to the east of U.S. 189. Hill discharged more rounds from his firearm, but again, no one was hurt.
Hill eventually walked back toward law enforcement and, at first, refused to drop his handgun. He eventually removed the magazine from the handgun and placed the handgun on a fence, but still held onto the magazine. When Hill picked up the handgun from the ground, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office deployed non-lethal munitions.
Law Enforcement was then able to apprehend Hill, and take him into custody.
The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the incident.
Charges are pending.