BEAR RIVER CITY — Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron R. Beesley, who fell to his death Saturday while searching for two lost hikers, is being remembered by family and friends for his fondness of technology and law enforcement.
“He loved being a trooper,” his mother, Laretta R. Beesley, of Clearfield, said Monday. “He would rather go to work on his birthday.”
Beesley, 34, of Bear River City, died while participating in a helicopter rescue mission to find a pair of hikers on Mount Olympus, east of Salt Lake City. Beesley spotted the hikers and began his preparation to deploy from the helicopter to assist them, according to a statement from the UHP.
He tossed his medical bag outside of the helicopter but it rolled further than expected down the hill. After the hikers were loaded in the helicopter, Beesley went to retrieve the bag and apparently lost his footing and fell about 90 feet to his death.
Beesley worked for UHP for 13 years with assignments as a field trooper in Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties. While assigned to those counties, Beesley also worked for the UHP Technology Section, providing computer-related support.
His most recent assignment was at the Utah Highway Safety Office overseeing the collection of data for vehicle crash reports.
Beesley was also the primary flight technical officer for the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Aero Bureau, which were the duties he was performing when he died.
Beesley also developed several apps for smart phones, including one that helps UHP troopers with field sobriety tests administered to motorists suspected of impaired driving. In addition, Beesley has also developed several apps to help helicopter pilots.
“He was a decorated trooper, receiving awards for life saving. He earned the Medal of Excellence among other awards,” UHP officials said in the statement. “He was a great asset for the department and will surely be missed.”
As a child, Beesley was mechanically gifted and had a knack for fixing broken phones, computers, microwaves and leaf blowers, said Laretta Beesley. “He touched things and they would work,” she recalled.
Beesley obtained his amateur radio operator’s license at age 14 and three years later became a captain with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office Amateur Radio Emergency Services team.
The turning point in Beesley’s decision to become a law officer came when he met a UHP trooper who attended his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward in Clinton. After Beesley completed a two-year LDS mission to Oakland, Calif., in 1999 he attended the police academy.
Beesley also influenced his younger brother, Arik, to become a UHP trooper, said their mother. Arik Beesley is assigned as a field trooper in Davis County.
In addition to working as a trooper, Beesley was also assistant chief of the Corinne Volunteer Fire Department at the time of his death.
Clint Norman, who is Corinne’s fire chief, described Beesley as an “all-around good man.”
“He would do anything for anybody no matter what”, Norman said. “He was just a good friend. He would light up the room everywhere he went. He always had a smile on his face.”
One of Beesley’s crowning achievements was helping the Corinne Fire Department obtain a 21⁄2 ton truck from Box Elder County in 2010. Beesley helped coordinate the conversion of the truck into a firefighting vehicle that has numerous features, including a 1,000-gallon tank and a pump that can be activated from the cab or rear control panel.
It also has a forward-facing deck gun, a 3,000-pound winch, a system that auto-inflates or deflates tires, and a quick connect forestry line attached to the front bumper, and many other firefighting devices.
Beesley is survived by his wife, Kristie, and three sons.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Northridge High School, 2430 N. Hill Field Road, Layton.
Viewings will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, at Northridge High School.
Burial will be at the West Point Cemetery, 40 N. 4000 West, West Point.
A memorial fund is set up in Aaron Beesley’s name at America First Credit Union.