He who shall lay down his life for his fellow man shall find everlasting peace.
Patrolman George E. “Ed” VanWagenen
May 23, 1931
Hired April 11, 1928, Ed VanWagenen was the first full time officer hired to form the Utah Highway Patrol. Ed had served three years previously as a Provo city officer.
Ed was issued a 1927 Harley Davidson motorcycle and later a 1928 “Model-A” Ford.
On May 23, 1931, while conducting a stolen vehicle investigation, Patrolman VanWagenen fell into a large circular saw that was used to cut firewood. The saw severed Ed’s right side and penetrated his liver and lung. He died later that same day. Ed was 42 years old at the time of his death.
His wife, Johanna, obtained employment at the Utah State Mental Hospital at Provo to provide for herself and her five boys.
In 1935, Johanna was brutally attacked by a mental patient with a pair of scissors. Johanna died a few days later.
Trooper Armond A. “Monty” Luke
December 2, 1959
Monty Luke joined the Utah Highway patrol on August 1, 1936.
On December 3, 1959, Trooper Luke’s patrol vehicle wa found by a truck driver, partially submerged in the cold waters of the Seveier River about six miles south of Circleville, Utah. His body was found in the river about fifty feet from his vehicle.
Investigators determined that Trooper Luke was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 89 at a high rate of speed most probably in pursuit of a violator. Tracks and skidmarks indicated he swerved to miss several deer that had been crossing the highway.
After leaving the roadway, his patrol vehicle sheared off two large posts, rolled down an embankment and landed in the river. Trooper Luke was thrown from the vehicle.
Monty died at the scene of this accident at the age of fifty-five.
Trooper Luke was survived by his wife, Wilma, a daughter and four sons.
Trooper George Dee Rees
July 12, 1960
George D. Rees was a twelve-year veteran with the Utah Highway Patrol when he was killed.
Shortly after midnight on July second, Troopers in the Riverdale area were advised of a gas skip. The car involved matched the description of a vehicle stolen earlier that night.
Trooper George Rees and Roger Gilmore set up a roadblock at the Farmington junction of Highways 89 and 91 just south of Lagoon. Trooper Mark Birch was attempting to stop the stolen car which was traveling over one-hundred miles per hour.
The speeding felon and Trooper Birch were approaching the roadblock and it was evident that the felon was not going to stop.
George Reese got back into his patrol car just prior to the arrival of the felons, in preparation for joining the pursuit.
The fleeing felons crashed their stolen car into the patrol car of Trooper Rees. He died at the scene.
The two felons also died at the scene as a result of the crash.
Trooper Rees was survived by his wife, Maree, and his son, Michael, who was age fifteen at the time.
Trooper Charles D. “Chuck” Warren
Trooper Chuck Warren joined the Utah Highway Patrol on August 19, 1956. Although he passed away on May 16, 1994, the injuries that led to his death were suffered on September 2, 1969.
On September 2, 1969, Chuck stopped a stolen vehicle, west of Springville on SR-77. As Chuck approached, the driver suddenly shot Chuck twice with a .22 calibre revolver. Both rounds struck Trooper Warren just above the right eye.
Trooper Warren was in a coma for several weeks then finally regained consciousness. He never did regain his facilities, was paralyzed for life, had severe difficulty speaking and suffered endless health problems as a result of being shot.
Trooper Chuck Warren died on May 16, 1994 due to complications from pneumonia.
Trooper John Winn
September 22, 1971
John Winn joined the Utah Highway Patrol as a Radio Operator on October 1, 1959.
Trooper Winn graduated from Utah Trade Tech with a degree in Eletronic Engineering. On November 1, 1964 he was promoted to Radio Technician, which was also a sworn police position at that time.
Trooper Winn received the Outstanding Citizens Award in 1970.
On September 22, 1971, Trooper Winnw as working at a radio tower on Lake Mountain in Utah county. He was operating a loader on a steep grade when the loader began to slide backwards out of control.
The loader struck a hillside and rolled over one time, crushing Trooper Winn. He was thirty-six years of age.
Trooper Winn was survived by his wife, JoAnne, three daughters and three sons.
Trooper William J. Antoniewicz
December 8, 1974
William J. Antoniewicz joined the Utah Highway Patrol on July 16, 1974. He was assigned to the Echo port of entry located on the Utah-Wyoming border. Troopers at that port drove a marked patrol car the 40 miles from Coalville to the Port when going on or off shift.
On December 8, 1974 Trooper Antoniewicz stopped a speeding vehicle 9 miles east of Echo Junction on Interstate 80. The driver of the speeding car ambushed Trooper Antoniewicz as he approached the driver’s door. The felon fired two shots from a .38-calibre revolver, one bullet struck the Trooper Antoniewicz in the chest and the other bullet hit him in the back. The felon then exited his vehicle and kicked the dying Trooper several times in the face.
Eighteen months later a suspect was arrested and charged with the murder of Trooper William Antoniewicz. The first trial resulted in a “hung jury”. Facing another trial, the subject pled guilty to a reduced charge of second degree murder.
Trooper Antoniewicz was twenty-seven years of age at the time of his death.
DPS Agent Robert B. “Bob” Hutchings
July 20, 1976
Bob Hutchings joined the Utah Department of Public Safety as an Agent with the Narcotics and Liquor Enforcement Division. Prior to joining the Utah DPS he had served as a Deputy Sheriff in Sacramento County, California.
On 20 July 1976 Agent Hutchings was asked to assist the West Jordan Police Department on a narcotics investigation. Using an arrest warrant following a drug deal, Bob and West Jordan Police Chief Lance Foster attempted to arrest the subject.
The subject shot Agent Hutchings in the neck with a shotgun. Agent Hutchings returned fire with his .380 calibre pistol, hitting the subject four times. Chief Foster also fired ten 9mm rounds at the subject who died at the scene.
Agent Bob Hutchings was survived by his six children and his wife Janet, who was pregnant with their seventh child.
Trooper Ray Lynn Pierson
November 7, 1978
Trooper Ray Lynn Pierson was following in the footsteps of his father, Sergeant Dean Pierson, a fifteen-year UHP veteran.
It was just two days after Ray transferred to his home town of Panguitch when he stopped a pickup truck. He was unaware that the vehicle was stolen and the driver had just stolen gasoline in the town.
As Trooper Pierson approached the truck, the driver shot Ray in the heart. Before Ray gave up, he emptied his .357 Magnum at the vehicle as it sped away.
The subject was later apprehended by other officers. He pled guilty to first degree murder on July 19, 1979.
Trooper Pierson was twenty-nine years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his two sons, a daughter and his wife Darlene who was pregnant with their fourth child.
Trooper Daniel W. Harris
August 25, 1982
Daniel W. Harris joined the Utah Highway Patrol in March of 1979. He came from eight years prior law enforcement duty with the Phoenix Police Department, the Parowan Police Department and two years as a Deputy Sheriff in Iron County.
Trooper Harris served the UHP in Field Operations, Internal Affairs and Executive Protection prior to his assignment on the UHP Motorcycle Squad. Dan was an excellent rider.
On August 25, 1982, Trooper Harris was in hot pursuit of a speeding vehicle, westbound on Interstate-80 in Parley’s Canyon. Trooper Harris failed to negotiate a curve, left the roadway and struck an embankment. Trooper Harris died as a result of massive head injuries. He was thirty-three years old at the time of his death.
Trooper Dan Harris was survived by his wife Andrea, his two daughters and two sons.
Trooper Joseph S. “Joey” Brumett
December 11, 1992
“Joey” Brumett joined the Utah Highway patrol in March 1992. He had always wanted to be a police officer. After graduation from the Police Academy, Trooper Brumett was assigned to Salt Lake County.
On December 11 he was dispatched to a multiple vehicle accident on Interstate-15 at 2800 South. During the investigation Trooper Brumett was struck by a pickup truck which subsequently hit another vehicle before the driver jumped from the truck and fled the scene on foot.
The subject was later apprehended and convicted of hit-and-run and driving without a license.
Trooper Brumett was survived by his wife Jennifer. They had been married only 16 months.
Trooper Dennis L. ‘Dee’ Lund
June 16, 1993
Trooper Dennis L. “Dee” Lund joined the Utah Highway Patrol as a Security Officer on April 21, 1986. He was promoted to trooper in September 1987 and transferred to Hanksville, then to Greenriver, Utah. On June 16, 1993 Trooper Lund was assisting other officers who were trying to stop two felons in a stolen vehicle from Indiana.
During the high-speed pursuit on Interstate-70, three Troopers were fired upon by the felons.
One of the felon’s bullets penetrated Trooper Lund’s windshield and struck him in the head.
Two subjects, ages 16 and 18, were taken into custody.
Trooper Dee Lund was 37 years old at the time of his death.
He was survived by his wife Brenda and their two children.
Sergeant Doyle R. Thorne
July 30, 1994
Sergeant Doyle R. Thorne joined the Utah Highway Patrol on July 16, 1975. He had earned a master’s degree from Utah State University, and held the rank of Captain, USMC, in Vietnam. He was a helicopter pilot, renowned for his ability to evacuate the wounded from fire zones.
In December 1988, Sergeant Thorne transferred to the UHP Aero Bureau and was assigned helicopter duty. He flew many rescue missions during the next five years.
On July 30 1994, Doyle had been searching for a missing two-year-old girl in Duchesne County. The girl was located and Sergeant Thorne began his return flight to Salt Lake City. The return route required high altitudes to clear the mountain range.
Sergeant Thorne radioed a “MayDay” and his craft disappeared from radar contact. His exact grid location was unknown and the craft did not have a transponder.
It took three days to locate the downed helicopter and Sergeant Thorne. The injuries he suffered in the crash killed him instantly.
Sergeant Thorne was survived by his wife Luci, his two daughters and his two sons.
Trooper Randy Ingram
October 5th, 1994
Randy Ingram joined the Utah Highway Patrol August 4, 1984. He served at the Kanab Port of Entry and as a field Trooper at Fillmore, before transferring to Juab County in February 1988. He was a member of the Juab County Search and Rescue for 15 years, serving since 1979. He served 20 years in the Utah National Guard and held the rank of Staff Sergeant. On October 5, 1994, Trooper Ingram stopped a van loaded with Boy Scouts, for no visible taillights. A semi-truck driver fell asleep, drifting into the emergency lane and struck Trooper Ingram’s patrol car. The proper placement of his patrol car saved the lives of the scouts, but Trooper Ingram was killed instantly. Randy was survived by his wife, Carlene and two beautiful children, Megan, age 4 and Devan, age 2. Trooper Randy Ingram gave his life to protect the lives of others.
Lieutenant Thomas S. Rettberg
February 11, 2000
Tom Rettberg joined the Utah Highway patrol in 1975. He served at the Echo Port of Entry for one year then transferred to Field Operations in Weber County for two years. He then joined the UHP Aero Bureau.
Tom left the UHP and was assigned to the Wildlife Resources in 1979. He later joined the UDOT Aeronautics Division then returned to the UHP in 1985.
On February 11, 2000, Lieutenant Rettberg was performing an auto-rotation maneuver required by the FAA. This maneuver simulates an emergency engine failure in a helicopter.
During the auto-rotation maneuver the craft malfunctioned and crashed.
Trooper Aaron Beesley
June 30, 2012
Aaron Beesley joined the Utah Highway Patrol in January 2000. He started his career at the Utah State Capitol. In August 2001 he transferred to Section 2 Weber/Morgan County where he excelled in technology and became a (FTO) field training officer. He served with the DPS SERT team as their communications and technology specialist. In November 2005 he transferred to Section1, Box Elder County, where he continued his technology work. In 2009 he started to work with the aero bureau. He saved 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 helped saved numerous lives both as part of the aero bureau and while working in the field. Aaron took a new assignment in June 2011 with the Utah Highway Safety Office compiling and gathering crash data from every police agency throughout Utah. Aaron was also the assistant Fire Chief of the Corinne City Volunteer Fire Department. On June 30, 2012 he was participating in a Search and Rescue mission with the aero bureau and had helped rescue two stranded hikers from off of Mount Olympus in Salt Lake County. While the pilot was delivering the hikers to ground crews it appears Aaron attempted to retrieve his medical bag and lost his footing and fell approximately 90 feet where he died instantly.
Trooper Eric Ellsworth
November 18th, 2016
Trooper Eric Dale Ellsworth, 31 was serving the citizens of the State of Utah as a State Trooper on November 18, 2016 when he was struck by a car and sustained severe injuries that he succumbed to on November 22, 2016. He was a second generation Trooper the son of Trooper Ronald Dale Ellsworth (Ret.).
Trooper Ellsworth joined the Utah Highway Patrol in 2009 and dedicated his life to serving and protecting. He was first assigned to Section 13, District C and worked in the Green River area. After two years, he transferred to Section 1, Box Elder County, and worked the past 5 years as part of District D. For seven years, Trooper Ellsworth strove to fulfil the office of a UHP trooper and make the world a better, safer place.
During the course of his duties on November 18th, 2016, Trooper Ellsworth was working to stop vehicles from striking a low-hanging power line near Garland, Utah on State Road (SR)-13. There were no street lights in the area and it would have been difficult for the public to see the power line after the sun had set. As Trooper Ellsworth attempted to stop a semi before it hit the power line, he was struck by a second motorist and was critically injured. Despite excellent medical care, many prayers, and much faith exercised on his behalf, Trooper Ellsworth passed away on November 22nd. He is survived by his wife Janica, and three sons, along with his parents and eight siblings.