A routine traffic stop in Parleys Canyon early Thursday netted a Moab man who escaped from authorities in Elko, Nev., Tuesday and was traveling with a hostage.
Larry Vigil, 32, stabbed himself in the chest before Utah Highway Patrol troopers could get him out of the car he was traveling in. He was in fair condition in University Hospital.Trooper Tony Garcia said he was running a radar trap at the mouth of the canyon shortly before 4:30 a.m. when he stopped an eastbound car with Nevada license plates.
"I asked the driver for ID and he appeared to be quite nervous so I asked him to exit the vehicle," Garcia said. After the driver got out of the car, "He said he was being held hostage at knife point.
"I didn't know if I was being set up for something, so I told him to sit in the car while I wrote out a citation," Garcia said. The trooper then called from his patrol car for a backup unit, which arrived about six minutes later.
Garcia then physically removed the driver, a 32-year-old Elko resident, from the car, and the two officers drew their weapons on the passenger.
"I told him to put his hands where I could see them. He reached down beneath the seat and pulled up a knife and stabbed himself in the heart," Garcia said.
"Minutes later we found out he was an escapee from the Elko County Jail system," Garcia said.
Vigil escaped from Nevada authorities Tuesday just minutes after he was sentenced to 10 years in the Nevada State Prison. He was being transferred from the courtroom to a waiting sheriff's vehicle when he bolted from officers. He escaped down the street, clad in bright-red jail coveralls and wearing a chain belly belt.
District Judge Tom Stringfield sentenced Vigil to 10 years for the Sept. 27 burglary of a pickup truck at a downtown Elko hotel.