DPS chopper pilot describes rescue mission for trooper who fell 50 feet

Feb 15, 2024, 6:25 PM | Updated: Feb 16, 2024, 8:26 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The chief pilot for the Utah Department of Public Safety’s helicopters took swift action during Tuesday’s morning police chase.

“Every rescue we go on is rewarding,” Luke Bowman said.

He has been involved in all sorts of amazing rescues through the years. However, in his 14 years of flying for DPS, he has never had a rescue like the one he did that morning.

“It was almost automatic to make that decision. Let’s grab him and go,” he said.

Bowman was flying with his tactical flight officer, Sgt. Nick Napierski helped Salt Lake City police track a suspect to a hotel off Interstate 80 and 5400 West.

At the same time, they heard a Utah Highway Patrol trooper had fallen off a nearby overpass while putting down spike strips to stop the suspect.

Trooper seriously hurt after falling off overpass near I-80 in Salt Lake City

“We hadn’t heard anything yet on an ETA from a medic, and so we decided to land and do whatever we could to help,” Bowman said.

According to police, the trooper fell over 50 feet onto a road. Bowman knew time wasn’t on his side.

“We can either wait to stabilize his spine and watch our buddy bleed out from inside, or we can go,” Bowman said. “Six guys or so carried him over to the helicopter, and we just put him on the black floor and took off.”

Bowman found out the trooper they were flying, Steve “Odie” Myer, is someone he knew.

Utah High Patrol trooper Steve (Odie) Myer.

Utah High Patrol trooper Steve (Odie) Myer. (Utah Highway Patrol)

“All rescues are important, and we go as fast and as safely as we can,” Bowman said. “But it does feel a little bit different because it’s somebody you know and somebody you admire and have worked with.” 

They flew him to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, which had the type of trauma care Myer needed fast.

“A couple of the doctors at the ER, they told us that that time was very critical,” Bowman said.

Bowman said those same doctors told him there’s a good chance Myer is still alive because of their decision.   

“I feel like we did the best we could with the information we had,” Bowman said.

Myer remains in serious condition but is expected to recover.

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DPS chopper pilot describes rescue mission for trooper who fell 50 feet