VERNAL — A Uintah County man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder for firing 19 shots from an AR-15 rifle at a sheriff's deputy has been sentenced to prison.
Judge Clark McClellan sentenced Dallas Acel Rowley to serve up to 15 years in prison for the attempted murder of Uintah County sheriff's deputy Mike Lourenco. Rowley, 68, was also ordered to serve up to five years in prison for failure to stop at an officer's command.
The sentences will run concurrent with one another.
Lourenco was on patrol on March 8, 2012, when he spotted a sport-utility vehicle parked off an unlit road about 20 miles south of Vernal. It was just before 9 p.m. and the deputy said he decided to stop and check on the welfare of the driver.
Lourenco said he found Rowley in the driver's seat, smelled the odor of alcohol and saw a gun on the floorboard below the front passenger seat.
Rowley was ordered out of the vehicle, but he drove off instead with the deputy in pursuit. The brief chase ended when Lourenco crested a rise, found the SUV parked across the road and saw Rowley in the driver's seat pointing an AR-15 rifle at him.
Investigators say Rowley fired 19 shots at the deputy's patrol truck, hitting it 10 times. At least three bullets punched through the windshield and struck the driver's seat.
Lourenco suffered shrapnel injuries, but avoided being shot by throwing his truck in reverse, backing up and laying down into the passenger seat, Uintah County Attorney G. Mark Thomas said.
After the shooting Rowley fled into the Book Cliffs, sparking a two-day manhunt that ended when he surrendered. He was booked into the Uintah County Jail, where he was held until he was sentenced to prison.