CORINNE — A deputy was justified in the fatal shooting of a motorist who tried to run him over with a car, Box Elder County Attorney Stephen R. Hadfield said Friday.
Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Bowcutt felt his life was in danger and his only option was to use deadly force against Troy Clark Burkinshaw, 52, of Sandy, Hadfield said in the five-page report.
The report details what led up to the shooting. About 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Bowcutt was driving west on State Road 13 east of Corinne in a marked sheriff’s office truck when he observed Burkinshaw urinating in plain view, just off the westbound lane of the highway, next to a dark blue Volkswagen Jetta.
Bowcutt turned his vehicle around, intending to speak with Burkinshaw about his inappropriate behavior, the report states. But by the time Bowcutt approached the spot where the Jetta had been parked, Burkinshaw was inside the vehicle and traveling west on SR 13 toward Corinne.
Bowcutt turned on his overhead lights to make a traffic stop. After stopping the Jetta, Bowcutt approached Burkinshaw, the only occupant of the car. The deputy spoke with Burkinshaw through the open driver’s side door and observed what he believed to be a bottle of alcohol, the report states.
Bowcutt could smell alcohol, and Burkinshaw seemed nervous and avoided eye contact. Burkinshaw told Bowcutt he did not have his driver’s license with him but stated that his name was Troy Clark and gave a birth date.
Back at his patrol vehicle, Bowcutt was unable to identify anyone named Troy Clark with the birth date Burkinshaw gave. Just as Bowcutt was closing his laptop, Burkinshaw drove away in the Jetta, heading west on SR 13.
Bowcutt pursued Burkinshaw’s car at about 50 mph westbound into Corinne. Burkinshaw slowed and turned south into a residential/agricultural area of the community.
Bowcutt tried to box in the Jetta, but Burkinshaw twice turned his car around and was able to drive away, narrowly missing the patrol vehicle, states the report.
Bowcutt followed Burkinshaw onto a dead-end street and once again attempted to box him in. The deputy eventually backed up his vehicle and positioned it across the road to block Burkinshaw’s car.
Bowcutt then got out of his patrol vehicle, with his weapon drawn, to arrest Burkinshaw.
“Upon exiting the patrol truck, Deputy Bowcutt immediately yelled, ‘Get out of the car,’ twice at Mr. Burkinshaw,” states the report.
Burkinshaw backed up the Jetta in an apparent effort to get around the front of Bowcutt’s patrol vehicle. Bowcutt was in front of the Jetta, pointing his weapon at the Jetta’s windshield.
Burkinshaw continued to drive slowly toward Bowcutt, and the deputy stepped backwards, but the car bumped his legs several times.
“Deputy Bowcutt indicated that he could feel the engine rev on his leg, and came to the conclusion that Mr. Burkinshaw was going to run him over,” states the report.
“Deputy Bowcutt then fired at least three shots from his drawn weapon through the windshield of the Jetta at Mr. Burkinshaw. At least one of these shots struck Mr. Burkinshaw and resulted in his death.”