Death of a Hero

8. Death of a Hero-2 Trooper Aaron Beesley was called out to fly a mission with Shane Oldfield, a DPS pilot, on Saturday June 30, 2012. It was a search and rescue mission for two lost hikers on Mt. Olympus. Shortly after arriving in the area, Aaron spotted the two hikers and began his preparation to deploy and offer them assistance. He threw his medical bag out of the helicopter and then climbed out to check on the two hikers. The bag rolled down the hill further than expected. After the hikers were loaded in the helicopter Aaron instructed the pilot to take the hikers to safety and then return for him. He then went to retrieve his medical bag and it appears that in doing so he must have lost his footing and fell down a very steep hill about 90 feet to his death. One of the hikers took a photo of Aaron minutes before he put them onto the helicopter and made sure they were safe and before he would fall to his death.

Aaron was always available when someone needed help. He was one of the most service oriented Troopers in the UHP. He rarely backed down from a call and always went the extra mile to help others. He served as a technology trooper who took calls at all times of the day and night and was always willing to help. He was very talented when it came to technology and could most fix anything and had a true passion for finding solutions to the many tech problems others faced. He developed several apps for android phones and helped with a computerized security system for our section office. He died doing what he loved to do, helping others flying in the helicopter and saving people from death or serious injuries.

8. Death of a Hero-1

When Aaron’s body was brought off the hill he was carried by his brothers in law enforcement. As the officers lined up and saluted Aaron he was placed into the van in preparation to go to the State Medical Examiners office. He was taken lights and siren, as a sign of respect, to the Medical Examiners office by the UHP and UPD. The UHP then posted a Trooper with Aaron’s body until he was buried on July 7th. Troopers also provided security for his family through this time of mourning.

Aaron served his God in many ways including as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Oakland California where he learned to communicate in over 5 different languages. Prior to his mission he had met and become friends with a neighbor and UHP Trooper Eric Braegger. This friendship had Aaron convinced that he wanted to become a Utah Highway Patrolman. He had his mom register him for the Police Academy at Weber State upon his return. Shortly after completing the academy he was hired by the UHP on Jan 28, 2000. A few months later he was engaged to the love of his life Kristie Dyer. They married in May of 2000.

Aaron’s career with the UHP may not have lasted as long as some but it was full of service and adventure. He was first assigned to the State Capitol Protective Service division where he worked until August 2001. It became apparent there that Aaron had a natural affinity to all things technological as he helped set up a new phone system.

In August 2001 Aaron transferred to Section 2, (Weber and Morgan Counties) where he worked field operations for the next four years and became a valuable resource to everyone in northern Utah as a technology technician. He also was always one of the troopers you could always count on responding to help on any crash or other public assist, during his time in Section 2 he was asked to work on the DPS SERT Team (Special Emergency Response Team). He assisted them with communications and other technical help. He enjoyed training with the SERT team and was proud of the several times that he earned the 100% proficiency medal at firearms.

In November 2005 he transferred to Section 1, (Box Elder County) and his family eventually built a home in Bear River City. Shortly after getting into their home in Bear River he joined the Corinne Fire Department as a volunteer fireman. More than once he went from his work at the UHP to a wild land fire call. I remember one day finding him still in his trooper pinks with his fire coat on putting out a small brush fire, I tried to get a photo but he was too fast and by the time I got my camera out he had his turn out trousers over his pinks and was back at fighting the fire.

He was a natural fit at the Corinne Fire Department and helped many Box Elder County Fire Departments with communications needs. He was always the go to guy for technological issues. Aaron was eventually elected Assistant Fire Chief and held that position for almost three years. Aaron loved fighting fires as it was one more way to serve people. He helped the Corinne Fire Department acquire all kinds of updated and new equipment and he built a special wild land fire engine from an old deuce and a half. He was pretty proud of his work and would give you the tour of engine 82 now affectionately called the BEEZ if you showed the slightest interest. I got the tour two or three times and am still amazed when I see it today. This vehicle made fighting wild land fires fun according Aaron. He set the vehicle up like a video game with a joy stick to move the sprayer nozzle where you want it. I will miss the photos and text updates of Aaron’s adventures of putting out fires in Box Elder County.

I have tried several times to quantify the number of lives Aaron Beesley saved during his time with the Utah Highway Patrol but all I can tell you is that it far exceeds the number of medals and accolades he ever received. I recall several stories of great saves with the aero bureau. I personally know of others that he was a part of

while he was working with me in Box Elder County. He was truly a selfless man and he had a way to make everyone around him feel like they were the most important person around him. Aaron did this in so many ways. Besides becoming a technology trooper, EMT, Volunteer Fireman, assisting the SERT team, leading section 1 in accident investigations he also became an FTO (field training officer) early on in his career and helped train several new Troopers. He also helped train most new Troopers in Northern Utah on how to use their computers. I am going to share a condensed version of a few incidents where Aaron made a huge impact in many lives in the relatively short time he served the citizens of Utah as a Utah State Trooper and as a Fire Fighter and EMT.

I recall one incident where Aaron was home and he heard an Attempt to Locate on a DUI over his fire pager of a driver coming toward Bear River City and he responded from his home to help catch this person endangering others.

A story that most in northern Utah will remember was when Aaron was involved in a pursuit of an escaped Maricopa County Jail prisoner in a stolen car out of Arizona. Most of what you may have heard is probably true. Aaron like the rest of us was out to help with a rocket test at ATK and when we heard Idaho was chasing someone toward Utah. We all diverted and headed north but somehow Aaron managed to get a little further North than the rest of us. After the vehicle got past one trooper with spikes Aaron was ready a few miles down the road.

He managed to deploy his spikes and got one tire on the bandit’s vehicle and then in his hurry to apprehend the suspect he forgot his spikes in the roadway. You can only imagine what happen next. He asked somebody to respond to secure his spikes, they were not hard to find as another vehicle had found them resulting in three flat tires.

We eventually caught the guy after all his tires were deflated and he had called 911 to turn himself in. The ending of the pursuit was all captured by KSL from their helicopter. Aaron was never one to look for accolades but loved to see himself in action on the news and so within a short order he had gathered videos from all officers involved and taken a clip from the news and put together a video of the entire event in chronological order.

Trooper Aaron Beesley was laid to rest on Saturday July 7 in the West Point Cemetery after a funeral at Northridge High School during which officers, firemen, search and rescue personnel from throughout Utah along with Troopers from 12 States came to pay their last respects.

8. Death of a Hero-3

Another story shows what a compassionate person Aaron was. Aaron and I were the only two Troops working on a day in November 2006 when a call came out of a head on collision on I-15 near Willard Bay. We both responded and upon arriving Aaron went to work helping Mr. Chlarson and I checked on the other driver.

Mr. Chlarson was talking with Aaron and within a few minutes he took a turn for the worse and even though we had a helicopter on the scene within a few minutes we were unable to save him. Aaron took this really personally especially after I told him about making notification to his young wife and two young daughters. Because Christmas was only a little over a month away Aaron suggested that we provide Christmas for these girls. So with the help of Santa, Aaron and I came up with some funds and purchased and wrapped gifts for the girls and delivered Christmas to this family. So when he wasn’t saving a life he was thinking about those left behind.

Another incident was when Aaron responded to a crash where a car had gone into an irrigation ditch upside down and one small child was trapped inside. A young man whose father had been a UHP Trooper stopped and climbed into the water and removed the child from the car seat and performed mouth to mouth reviving the child as Aaron arrived and took over care as an EMT. The child recovered and the young man was honored however, for a few days after the incident the young man struggled with his thoughts about this incident and Aaron spent several hours talking with this young man to let him know that the feelings he was having were normal.

It helped the young man and he told me how much he appreciated Aaron for caring about him.

Aaron was always willing to help even if it meant going beyond our normal area of patrol especially if he could land a helicopter. One day there was a serious ATV crash above Mantua on the

Willard Peak road. Not a road you would expect to see a UHP Trooper in a Crown Victoria. Aaron was close and he responded and because he had a new 800 Mgz radio and knew he could communicate with the medical helicopter while it was enroute. More than one person did a double take when they arrived on scene and found Aaron on scene in his patrol car and helping with medical, then landing the helicopter.

Aaron made sure we had great technology and shortly after we had our GPS devices in all our patrol cars and were using them to track troopers locations we had an event where a male had kidnapped his former girlfriend in Idaho and brought her to Utah and sometime during this event he had shot her in the thigh. Some hunters had spotted the kidnapper and his victim stranded on a dirt road west of Promontory Point and gone to the top of a hill to call 911. Aaron responded and this time he took his computer and GPS device into a deputy’s truck rather than drive his new patrol car out on the dirt road. Because of this and his 800 Mgz radio dispatch was able to continually communicate and track the officer’s location. When the suspect killed himself, Aaron requested a medical helicopter he had on standby be sent to the scene to help the injured victim. Since Aaron didn’t have his EMT bag he borrowed the deputies first aid kits and provided necessary first aid to save the female from bleeding to death. The Helicopter paramedic complemented Aaron, telling us that without Aaron it is unlikely the helicopter would have been able to get her to the hospital alive.

The last incident showed how Aaron always knew how to handle a situation no matter how bizarre it was. One day we had an Attempt to Locate for a female having a mental episode that was likely on I-15 north of Brigham City. We were all looking for her when Aaron found her parked on the freeway over the Bear River. He approached her and asked how he could help her and she explained how she was trying to get to somewhere in outer space but her ship had malfunctioned. Aaron went along with the story and explained that he could help her get her ship repaired and get her a shuttle to help her while she waited for her own vehicle. She agreed and Aaron called an ambulance. He explained the story to ambulance personnel and suggested that they go along with the story until she was safe and off the freeway. He then helped load her in the ambulance and made sure she safely made it to the hospital where she could get the help and medicine she needed. After the incident was over I asked Aaron how he communicated effectively with her to keep everything calm and he said “Oh, I speak crazy” He didn’t mean anything rude it was just Aaron and he had a way of speaking to people and keeping everything calm.

Even though he excelled at technology and received many outside job offers for far greater salary than he could ever make with the UHP, and had been offered a full-time position at UHP technology, he resisted all these offers because he didn’t want to give up his field assignment. Aaron loved being a Trooper.

Aaron continued to work with technology and expanded his abilities by becoming one of our troopers who could fly miniature helicopters that could be used to photograph major crashes and events. With all of Aaron’s duties and assignments, Aaron still worked hard and always managed to receive the Section 1 award for the trooper who investigated the most crashes each year. You had to get up pretty early and drive pretty quick to beat Aaron to a crash and even when you did beat him he would still offer to handle it. So Aaron was never afraid of work.

It was in 2009 that he really started to think about working and flying with the aero bureau. He lived outside the normal area for observers but after some persuading, Capt. Rugg agreed to give him a chance and as they say the rest is history. Because of his ability to make technology stand up and bow he was able to save the department hundreds of thousands of dollars making the equipment on the helicopter work more effectively and developing new tools to make the helicopter program more useful. He developed the ability for ground crews to watch everything the helicopter is seeing and also a mapping system that would track the helicopter’s movement so they would know where they had already searched. During this time he approached me and asked if he could attend a Communications Technician class after the week was up he came to me and showed me that he had graduated a Communication Leader which is one step above a technician. This gave him the ability to set up radio communications anywhere anytime including from the helicopter to ground search and rescue crews. Aaron was called upon during the National Governors Conference in 2011 for this talent and ability and the communications there worked great.

In June 26, 2011 Aaron decided to transfer to the Utah Highway Safety Office to help compiling and gathering crash data from every police agency throughout Utah. He looked at this as an opportunity to expand his abilities and it put him closer to the aero-bureau. Since he lived in Box Elder County he would still help out in Section 1 on a regular basis.

Throughout his career with the UHP Aaron was often peppered with job offers paying much more than he made with the UHP but Aaron loved saving lives and he was good at it. On Saturday June 30th 2012 he answered the ultimate call to serve as he lost his life in the service of his fellow-man. No greater love hath any man than to lay down his life for another.

Trooper Aaron Beesley was laid to rest on Saturday July 7 in the West Point Cemetery after a funeral at Northridge High School during which officers, firemen, search and rescue personnel from throughout Utah along with Troopers from 12 States came to pay their last respects. The procession was lined by people including Scouts and Cub Scouts holding American flags in honor or Trooper Beelsey’s life. Aaron’s body was carried to his final resting place by a Corinne Fire Truck and surrounded by his brothers from the Fire Department and escorted by his law enforcement brothers. The grave side service included bag pipes, taps a 21 gun salute, a fly over and a final call over the radio. Everyone who attended was touched by the sacrifice that Trooper Aaron Beesley made to keep us safe and free and at the same time everyone was exposed to the best celebration of a great Trooper’s life. Aaron leaves behind his sweetheart Kristie and three son’s who all loved their dad immensely. Aaron you will be missed my brother.