Utah law enforcement community rallies for Ohio officer hurt in deadly paragliding crash
Oct 19, 2023, 10:09 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2023, 3:56 pm
MURRAY — Utah’s law enforcement community is taking care of one of its own after a police detective from Cleveland was injured in a deadly mid-air collision at the Salt Lake County Flight Park earlier this week.
Through a fundraiser and in-person support, they’re showing the officer that she isn’t alone, even if she’s hospitalized far away from home.
Photos show a spectacular vacation filled with bucket list places for Ashley and Gabriel Schut.
Brent Jex, president of the Utah Fraternal Order of Police, said the Ohio couple rented a van and visited a bunch of sights in Utah and surrounding states.
The capstone to their trip, Jex said, came the day before they were supposed to fly back to Cleveland. Ashley was set to see the Salt Lake Valley from the open air above.
“It was the last thing she always wanted to do,” Jex said. “She heard about the great place that Draper Park is for hang gliding/paragliding, and wanted to do it.”
He explained that Ashley was the passenger on a tandem paragliding flight with an instructor Tuesday when a mid-air collision with a hang glider sent them straight toward the ground.
The instructor, identified as 44-year-old Joshua Ellison, died at the scene. The hang glider was also hospitalized.
Paramedics rushed Ashley to Intermountain Medical Center, where Jex said she went through surgeries to reverse paralysis on her crushed spine, and for her fractured pelvis.
He said an Adult Probation and Parole agent who is an FOP member happened to be at the flight park during the crash and jumped in to give medical aid until paramedic teams arrived.
It was through that agent and a couple of other channels that Jex found out Ashley is in the law enforcement community, working as a violent crimes detective in Cleveland.
He also found out she’ll be hospitalized for several weeks, in a state where she and Gabriel don’t know anyone.
“The initial thing was, making sure that they have the resources here,” Jex said.
The Utah FOP quickly set up a fundraiser* that local law enforcement officers have already donated to, and Jex began coordinating resources with the Cleveland and Ohio FOP chapters.
“They’re obviously concerned for her, and not being able to get to the hospital themselves,” he said.
Jex visited Ashley in person on Wednesday.
“You can tell with the look on her face, even with the extreme pain that she’s in, she’s a fighter,” he said.
And now, the Utah law enforcement community is making sure she isn’t fighting alone.
“We are all family,” Jex said. “When you don’t have blood, you’ve got blue.”
*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.