Semitruck driver hits, kills Utah officer, police say; driver in custody after hourslong manhunt

May 5, 2024, 9:24 AM | Updated: May 6, 2024, 7:00 pm

UPDATE: The semitruck driver suspected of hitting and killing a police officer has been captured. 

SANTAQUIN — A Santaquin police officer was hit by a semitruck driver and died of his injuries Sunday morning. The officer killed was assisting on a call that reported “an individual standing on the back of a semitruck trailer” as it traveled, authorities said.

The driver, identified as Michael Aaron Jayne, 42, fled from the scene just after he hit the officer at approximately 6:30 a.m. Gov. Spencer Cox announced his capture at approximately 11:45 a.m. Police said he was possibly armed with a stolen gun and was considered dangerous.

Mike Jayne, 42, ran over a police officer in Spanish Fork, police say. (Utah Public Safety)

Authorities said Jayne had an Indiana-issued driver’s license. He also appeared in news releases from Great Bend, Kansas, where he was described in a similar situation as “willing to enter into high-speed chases and cause accidents to avoid capture, as well as willing to invade homes. He has threatened to take lethal measures to avoid being taken back into custody.”

Authorities had not yet released the fallen officer’s name as of Sunday afternoon. The officer’s death came the weekend the state of Utah held its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service honoring fallen officers.

The traffic stop

During a press release given by multiple law enforcement agencies involved, Lt. Cory Slaymaker with Spanish Fork police said authorities had a report of “an individual standing on the back of a semitruck trailer as it was traveling northbound.” The Santaquin officer responded to the call, along with a Utah Highway Patrol trooper.

They located the semitruck on Interstate 15 near milepost 244, where they stopped Jayne.

Jayne fled in the semitruck during the traffic stop and continued north for a short distance before turning back around, traveling in the wrong direction and heading toward the officer.

Slaymaker said the truck hit the officer as he was out of his vehicle on the pavement, killing him. He also hit the officer’s police car and the UHP car. He then stopped and continued to flee on foot.

Police said he then stole multiple vehicles and ended up in a long-bed Ford F-150 with the Utah plate number 2D7TR.

He was located in Vernal, and officers pursued the white pickup truck he was traveling in for a “short distance” before Jayne crashed. He was then arrested.

‘We are one family’

Lt. Mike Wall with Santaquin police spoke tearfully at the press conference, conveying the shock of the entire force.

“Our entire department is hurt. And the family of the officer is hurt. Because of a senseless act by one individual, we have family members who will miss their father at their nearing wedding,” he said. “But I can assure you we as a police department will stand up and we will be there; we are one family.”

Lt. Mike Wall of Santaquin City Police Department, struggling to speak through tears, after his fellow officer was killed on duty after he was run over by a semitruck driver. (Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

Santaquin Mayor Dan Olson also spoke words of encouragement to his community.

“We have incredible people that serve this community. This loss is one of those difficult times that we will struggle with for some time,” he said. “We will do our best supporting each other, loving one another, and loving those men in blue that serve us every day.”

Provo Police Chief Troy Beebee said a procession of the fallen officer would begin approximately 30 minutes after the press release. He said it would begin on I-15 traveling north, and end at the Taylorsville medical examiner’s office.

“We invite those that want to show their respects to do so,” he said.

A shelter-in-place order was lifted for the area at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday. Mona, south of Santaquin, was part of the lockdown.

I-15 was closed in south Payson, and traffic was detoured through West Mountain. At approximately 11:30 a.m., authorities said I-15 was reopened.


Contributing: Alex Cabrero and Larry D. Curtis, KSL TV

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Semitruck driver hits, kills Utah officer, police say; driver in custody after hourslong manhunt