Officer Down Near Farmington
Trooper Ralph Evans joined the Utah Highway Patrol in 1972. He had previously served five years as an Ogden police officer. On October 7, 1978, Trooper Evans was working in Davis County. He was traveling southbound on I-15 when he was flagged over by two girls near Lagoon. The girls stated that a man in a Jeep, parked a short distance away, was drunk and disorderly and had tried to molest them.
Trooper Evans approached the suspect and found him to be intoxicated. As Trooper Evans placed handcuffs on the suspect, the man dropped to the ground and shouted for Trooper Evans not to kick him. Trooper Evans assured the man that he had no intention of harming him.
Suddenly, Trooper Evans was shot twice. Once in the neck and once in the lower back. The suspect’s 13 year old son, a passenger in the vehicle, had removed a semi-auto pistol from the vehicle and had shot Trooper Evans at a distance of less than 10 feet. The father and son then fled the scene in their vehicle.
The two girls ran to the patrol car and began screaming into the radio microphone that a trooper had been shot. A large artery in Trooper Evans’ neck had been severed and blood was spurting from this wound with every beat of his heart. A passing physician, Doctor Stanley Green, Layton, saw Trooper Evans laying in a pool of blood. He stopped and placed direct pressure on the artery, saving Trooper Evans’ life.
The father and son drove to Woods Cross and commandeered another vehicle at gunpoint from Eloise Thompson. Later, a second car was commandeered in North Salt Lake from David Miller. Soon afterwards, West Bountiful Officer Wayne Jeppson spotted this vehicle. As Officer Jeppson attempted to stop the stolen vehicle, the driver accelerated northbound on U.S. 89. During the chase, the occupants of the vehicle traded places. At 2600 South several vehicles had stopped for a red traffic light. The driver of the stolen vehicle drove onto the curb and sidewalk and proceeded around the traffic and through the red light. Two Bountiful Police units then joined the pursuit. Several times the stolen vehicle passed slower traffic by crossing double yellow lines and forcing oncoming traffic off the road.
Near 1800 North, Officer Jeppson drove to the left rear of the stolen vehicle. The fleeing vehicle swerved left, striking the West Bountiful police car and causing both vehicles to skid out of control. The stolen vehicle slammed into two parked cars. Both suspects received extensive injuries. Officer Jeppson received only minor injuries.
The .380 caliber pistol used to shoot Trooper Evans was located in the driver’s seat. The driver was still wearing the handcuffs placed on him by Trooper Evans; however, the connecting chain had been cut.
Pablo LeRoy Borrego Jr., 13, was found guilty of attempted criminal homicide and was committed to the Youth Development Center, Ogden. His father, Pablo Borrego Sr., 38, was sentenced to one-to-15 years at the Utah State Prison for robbery.
After nearly 10 months of recovery, Trooper Ralph Evans returned to work. Due to muscle and nerve damage to his arm and shoulder, he was assigned to public relations work, rather than patrol duty. Extensive nerve damage in his shoulder soon caused the muscles to atrophy, forcing Trooper Evans to take a medical retirement.