School locked until county agencies capture fugitive
|East Carbon City Police Officer Travis Lake takes a breather after helping to detain a fugitive from the Salt Lake area. Officers Lake and Cletis Steel found the suspect hiding in a riverbed within Bear Canyon in Sunnyside. |
On May 14, a fleeing fugitive led Carbon County law enforcement on a lengthy high speed chase that started on U.S. Hwy 6 and continued onto U.S. Hwy 123 finally concluding in the canyons of Sunnyside.
According to East Carbon City police officer Joe Fryer county dispatch called him out to block the junction of Utah Highway 6 and 123 at approximately 1 p.m.
"He passed me as I reached the C Canyon turnoff and he was flying," said Fryer. "By the time I turned around to persue, he was gone."
According to local law enforcement officials, Howard Phillip Andrus III, a paroled fugitive from the Salt Lake area, apparently rented a silver 2007 Corvette under a phony name in Provo on April 20. Andrus was reportedly fleeing a warrant when the suspect's rented vehicle was spotted speeding through the construction zone in the Helper area.
"We had reports that he was clocked at over 140 miles per hour in Wellington," stated Fryer. "The new highway patrol Chargers were perusing at 140 mph and he was pulling away from them. We estimate he may have topped out at 180 mph."
Law enforcement officers chased the suspect through the streets of East Carbon and Sunnyside, according to Fryer. The authorities finally boxed Andrus in the canyons of Sunnyside.
"I saw that he had reached the gate at Grassy Trail Canyon and turned around," said Fryer. "So I went back down toward Pasteur Canyon and saw that he had gone up that way and came back down around the horse corrals."
At that point, Fryer and Officers Cletis Steele from state corrections, Policeman Travis Lake from East Carbon and Sgt. Phillip Holt from East Carbon began tracking tread marks left in Bear Canyon.
According to Fryer, Lake and Steele noticed a white patch of clothing near the hillside and began calling the suspect out.
"He gave up pretty easy at that point," said Fryer. "I don't blame him being as we had two shotguns, a rifle and a pistol on him at that point."
East Carbon Police Chief Sammy Leonard indicated that the suspect placed the lives of small children in danger during the evasion incident.
The tense situation led Petersen Elementary to implement their student lock-down procedure.
In a letter to parents dated May 15 Petersen Principal Mellisa Hamilton explains that, " we were notified of a fugitive in town. Because not much was known about the situation, I made the decision to error on the side of caution and lock down the school to protect our students from any harm or danger. The lock-down drill worked perfectly; teachers and student have practiced this drill many times throughout the year and they knew exactly what to do."
Hamilton went on to explain that the safest place for a student to be during an emergency during school hours is in the school with other students.
When a lock down occurs teachers are notified via the schools intercom system that a lock-down is occurring. They in turn lock their doors and draw the blinds within their classrooms. They then notify the principal that all students in their class are accounted for by placing a green card in their window. If a student is not accounted for the school is searched immediately.
"As the parent of a small child myself, I understand the worry and fear that a parent feels when a situation like that occurs, I also understand the need to touch base with them." stated Hamilton. "However in a lock down situation it is imperative that the phone lines to the school be kept open. Three times during the lock-down dispatch was unable to reach the school because the phone lines were busy. We are changing the operation of our phones to help assist during these times, but we need your help in following emergency procedures," continued the Petersen principal.
Notification of the lock-down was given to parents by the school's ParentLink system. The telephone message system has the capability to notify parents, via a custom message delivered by Hamilton, about what is going on at the school during emergency's and other situations.
"We can get a message to every parent who has a child in this school in 20 minutes," said Petersen Elementary secretary Ricki Palmer.
In conclusion Hamilton wanted to remind parents of the importance of keeping current information with the school so that they receive all ParentLink messages and also that no child will be allowed to leave the school during a lock-down.
"The last thing we want to have happen during an emergency situation it to lose a child," concluded Hamilton.