Spanish Fork • An “evil” ran through Utah County on Thursday afternoon leading to “a horrific set of events” that left one deputy dead, another injured and a suspect critically injured in a shootout, the county’s sheriff said.
Armed with a high powered rifle, the suspect wreaked chaos through Utah County and into Juab County before he was critically wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Juab County deputies, Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy said.
But before the suspect was brought down by deputies, 19-year veteran sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride was dead and his colleague in surgery, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
Wride, a 44-year-old Benjamin resident, leaves behind a wife and five children.
The suspect, whose name was not released, had a “significant criminal history,” Tracy said.
Tracy said Wride was “ambushed” about 1 p.m. as he stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the side of of Highway 73 between Eagle Mountain and Cedar Fort. When Wride did not radio back to dispatch at his designated time, deputies were sent to investigate and found Wride dead, Tracy said.
Wride never had a chance to exit his vehicle before he was fatally shot, Tracy said, adding that he was mystified as to what prompted the man to shoot Wride, who only stopped to help.
The suspect then took off south where he encountered a deputy who chased the suspect at high speeds into the Santaquin area, Tracy said.
The man fired at Deputy Greg Sherwood, 38, shooting him in the head.
He was in surgery Thursday night at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, but Tracy said his prognosis was good.
The suspect continued to flee before he crashed in the Nephi area, Tracy said. The man then attempted to hijack several vehicles — shooting his gun several times in the process — before successfully stealing one.
He then continued to flee south on Interstate 15 where he crashed the stolen vehicle and encountered Juab County deputies.
The group fired at the suspect. The man was critically wounded.
Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon late Thursday said a second person had been arrested in connection to the shootings, though he declined to give details.
KUTV reported Utah County investigators served a search warrant Thursday night in Draper at a residence belonging to the primary suspect.
Ultimately, Tracy said the suspect was involved in four different shooting scenes, which were all under investigation by various agencies Thursday night.
Among those was the Utah Highway Patrol, which asked anyone who might have witnessed the incident or had any information to call a tip line at 801-887-3800.
Interstate 15 northbound remained closed Thursday night, shut down between mile posts 207 and 222, south of Nephi. About 7:30 p.m., southbound lanes were reopened.
I-15 drivers were being routed through Levan. The Utah Department of Transportation have not given an estimated time for reopening the northbound lanes.
In the Eagle Mountain area, State Road 73 was closed west of Ranches Parkway and east of Eagle Mountain Boulevard, but was reopened around 8 p.m., according to UDOT.
Cory Wride was raised in American Fork, relatives said. After his grandfather died, Wride and his wife built a house on a section of his grandfather’s farm in Benjamin, where he was raising his family.
Wride’s wife Nanette had three sons from a previous marriage. She and Wride had a boy and a girl together, his relatives said.
Blair Olsen, Wride’s uncle and neighbor, didn’t know why he went in to law enforcement, but said Wride’s father had been in the Utah County search and rescue and another uncle had been a police officer in Spanish Fork.
“I think that gave him a kind of direction to go.”
Wride’s relatives said he and his father were very close and often went on pheasant hunting trips in South Dakota. They had recently bought a few cows to experiment in the cattle business.
Cory also raised horses on his farm and rode a horse in parades as part of the Utah County Sheriff’s Posse, said his cousin and neighbor Blaine Wride.
“They’re a really close family,” Wride said, describing how the family would spend much of the summer fishing at Fish Lake. “They’re always involved with each other.”
Cory Wride was active in the LDS Church and attended the Benjamin 1st Ward.