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Quiet stop at Hurricane gas station turned into shootout

Published November 20, 2012 2:00 pm

Southern Utah • Woman in handcuffs escaped police, stole cop car before being shot.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Bryan Searle was taking a moment to text his ex-wife on his cellphone, and the parking lot of the Chevron station in Hurricane seemed like a good spot. Then, all hell broke loose.

First, the 29-year-old heavy equipment operator recalls, he heard the sirens, first distant — and then alarmingly close.

"Next thing I know, a cop car comes barreling into the parking lot. I realized that this could not be a good thing, and it pulled up right next to me. A woman jumped out and then more cops arrived, surrounding both of us," Searle recalled Tuesday, the day after the incident.

The woman, Joann Boone, 48, dashed to the passenger side of Searle's red Volkswagen Jetta and was trying to open the door as police officers, pistols drawn, shouted to him, "Get out! She's got a gun!"

"I bailed out of there. I got about three steps when I heard the gunshots," Searle said, remembering at least two loud pops as he hit the ground. Nearby officers told him to keep running — however, newly arrived officers, including Utah Highway Patrol and Washington County sheriff's deputies, were unaware of those orders.

"I jumped up and ran and they apprehended me, thinking I might be with the suspect or something," Searle said. "I was in handcuffs for maybe five minutes before they determined I was an innocent bystander and uncuffed me."

Searle said he was not hurt. But a deputy's bullet struck Boone in the hip. She underwent surgery at Dixie Regional Medical Center and was still receiving treatment Tuesday.

A press release from the Washington County Attorney's Office says Boone had two no-bail arrest warrants for parole violations issued by Nevada, and a warrant issued by the Hurricane City Justice Court,

A St. George police officer arrested Boone in St. George at about 6 p.m. and transported her to the county jail in Hurricane for booking.

Boone was searched before she was placed in a police car, but when the officer pulled into the jail and opened Boone's door, the press release said, she emerged pointing a gun at the officer as she held the gun behind her back in her handcuffed hands.

The officer retreated and Boone somehow got her hands in front of her and got into the driver's seat of the police car, which she drove through the closed rolling door of the jail's sally port.

Boone drove to La Verkin, then to Interstate 15 and then south. A state trooper deployed road spikes and deflated the tires on the stolen police car. Boone continued driving fast, the press release said, and turned onto State Road 9 toward Hurricane again.

The press release said She stopped at the Chevron station at 40 N. 6300 West and attempted to enter another car, apparently the one belonging to Searle. The press release said Boone was still handcuffed but brandishing the gun when the deputy fired at her.

A search of court documents shows Boone has a criminal record stretching back more than a dozen years, which includes felony convictions for drug possession, theft, forgery burglary and retail theft.

In 1999, and again in 2004, Boone was sentenced to one-to-15-year terms at the Utah State Prison.

remims@sltrib.com