Woman shot in the eye while ramming Utah cop car
A 41-year-old Colorado woman was in critical condition Monday, the day after she was shot by a Morgan County sheriff's deputy as she drove head-on into pursuing police cars during a high speed chase on and near Interstate 84.
The incident began shortly before 10 p.m. when a Morgan County deputy attempted to pull over the woman's pickup truck for a broken headlight. Instead, the suspect identified as Kristine Nicole Biggs, of Whitewater, Colo. sped away westbound on I-84 and a chase ensued.
Davis County sheriff's Capt. Kenneth Payne, whose office is investigating the officer-involved shooting for Morgan County, said the 40-mile pursuit began up Weber Canyon on the Morgan County side of the Weber River. The suspect sped east on I-84 to the Morgan city exit, then re-entered the freeway to head west.
At that point, Morgan deputies called for assistance from Utah Highway Patrol and other area law enforcement officers. At Horseshoe Bend on I-84, UHP troopers spread spike strips that took out both left side tires and the right front tire of the suspect's pickup.
"But she just kept going, still at high speed, out of the mouth of Weber Canyon and taking the South Weber exit and going onto Cottonwood Drive. Then she turned around and headed directly into the path of the [two pursuing Morgan] officers," Payne said.
The pickup sideswiped the first cruiser and hit the second nearly head on. The deputy from the first unit, meanwhile, had jumped out of his vehicle. Payne said he repeatedly ordered Biggs to turn off the engine and get out of the pickup, but she allegedly kept ramming the second cruiser.
"She would not comply and ran into the [second] police vehicle repeatedly," Payne said. The officer, believing his fellow officer's safety was at stake, fired once through windshield, Payne said. The bullet struck Biggs in the face, clipping the bridge of her nose and taking out her left eye.
Payne said Biggs was in critical condition in intensive care, but was expected to survive.
Investigators had learned that Biggs was the subject of an arrest warrant out of Grand Junction, Colo., related to a probation violation following a guilty plea to felony menacing with a deadly weapon. A Colorado prosecutor told The Tribune that the victim in the original case was a state wildlife officer.
"Actually, she has an extensive history of being bad in Colorado," Payne said, adding her record includes DUIs and assault charges.
Investigators also were trying to determine if the truck may have been stolen, and whether she had any friends or relatives in the area; there was some indication that Biggs who was driving without a valid driver license had lived in the Draper area at one time, but it was unclear how long ago that may have been.
Otherwise, Payne said, why Biggs was in Utah was not immediately determined.
"She had a lot of personal stuff in her vehicle, so we are also trying to find out if she was living out of the truck, or maybe moving somewhere," Payne said.
Neither of the Morgan deputies was injured. The one who fired the gunshot was on administrative leave pending the shooting review.
Tribune reporter Erin Alberty contributed to this story.