CRIME

Man had been holding woman against her will in his truck before killing Utah officer, police say

May 12, 2024, 9:28 PM | Updated: May 13, 2024, 11:59 am

PROVO — The semitruck driver accused of intentionally hitting and killing a Santaquin police sergeant has been released from the hospital and moved to the Utah County Jail.

Police say he had been holding a woman against her will inside the cab of his truck just before the killing.

Michael Aaron Jayne, 42, of Garrett, Indiana, was booked into jail Saturday for investigation of aggravated murder targeting law enforcement, attempted aggravated murder targeting law enforcement, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, attempted murder, three counts of vehicle theft and fleeing from police.

Jayne is accused of hitting and killing Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser on May 5. Just before 6 a.m. that morning, police dispatchers received a report of a semitruck in the northbound lanes of I-15 “with an individual riding on the back of the trailer. The caller told dispatch that the Hells Angels were targeting the driver of the truck. The caller would not give his name,” according to a police booking affidavit.

Police in Juab County and Utah County began looking for the semitruck.

“Sgt. Bill Hooser with the Santaquin Police Department was positioned on the freeway median and spotted the semitruck as it was approaching the Santaquin Main Street exit,” the affidavit states. “Sgt. Hooser quickly caught up to the semitruck which had exited at mile marker 244 and then proceeded through the stop sign at the bottom of the off-ramp without stopping and continued up the on-ramp going back onto the I-15 northbound freeway.”

Hooser then turned on his emergency lights to pull the semi over, which it did. About the same time, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper arrived on scene. Both officers began speaking with Jayne through the driver’s side window.

‘Trying to help’

“The driver, who was later identified as Michael Aaron Jayne, was uncooperative and would not answer questions from the officers. The officers made several attempts to reassure Jayne of the reason for the stop and that he was not in any trouble with them. They told Jayne they were there trying to help,” according to the affidavit.

But at that point, a woman came out of the sleeper area of the semitruck’s cab, jumped out the passenger side door and ran to the officers with her hands up, according to the arrest report. After the woman briefly talked to Hooser, the sergeant made a gesture to the trooper indicating that Jayne needed to be detained.

“(The trooper) reached for the door handle of the truck while simultaneously telling the driver to exit the vehicle. As he did this, Jayne immediately locked the door, put the truck into gear and drove away northbound,” the affidavit states.

The officers then ran back to their vehicles.

“As they were running with their backs to the fleeing semitruck, the driver, Jayne, began to make a sharp U-turn in the northbound lane of travel and began to head south directly towards the officers and female. Jayne accelerated the semitruck very quickly to the point that black smoke was billowing out of the exhaust smokestack as it continued” toward the two officers and the woman, according to the affidavit.

Sgt. Hooser

“Sgt. Hooser was in the doorjamb of his patrol vehicle when he saw Jayne and the semitruck careening towards him,” the affidavit says. He then began to run toward the rear of his patrol vehicle when “Jayne turned the truck directly towards Sgt. Hooser. Jayne accelerated the semitruck until it struck Sgt. Hooser’s back.”

Hooser was crushed between the semitruck and the trooper’s patrol car and was killed.

Investigators say Jayne then attempted to hit the trooper and the woman, who both “jumped/ran from the path of the oncoming semitruck and were able to narrowly escape being struck.”

Jayne continued driving for about 100 feet, stopped in the shoulder of the road, and then ran, jumping a fence along state Route 198. Police say Jayne went to a nearby gas station where he unsuccessfully tried to steal two cars before finding an unlocked semitruck with the keys inside.

Jayne drove the semitruck south near Mona, Juab County, then abandoned it. Jayne then stole another vehicle with the keys left inside, a 1976 Ford F-250, and drove south into Nephi then to Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, according to the affidavit.

He then found a house where no one was home and stole a Ford F-150, police say.

Troopers later that morning located Jayne 170 miles away near Vernal after the owners of the truck reported it had been stolen. Investigators said he tried to flee at speeds over 100 mph until troopers were able to catch up and successfully complete a PIT maneuver, which caused Jayne to lose control of his vehicle and crash. Jayne was arrested and taken to a hospital for medical care.

When police questioned the woman found in Jayne’s semitruck, she said she initially got into his vehicle voluntary. But after getting into an argument at a truck stop in Beaver, she said she refused to get back into his semi. Jayne initially drove off, but returned to the woman and threatened her “with chemical bear spray and a knife” to get back in the truck, which she did, the arrest report says.

Extensive criminal history

Police note in the affidavit that “Jayne has an extensive criminal history with violent offenses over the last 20 plus years,” including convictions of assaulting and threatening police, resisting arrest, felony evading and domestic violence assault. He is currently on federal probation.

As of Sunday, no formal criminal charges have been filed against him.

Funeral services for Hooser will be held Monday morning in Orem.

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Man had been holding woman against her will in his truck before killing Utah officer, police say