VERNAL — Police continue to search for two people who were involved in a brief chase Wednesday morning that ended with shots being fired at an officer.
The chase started about 3:30 a.m. when a Vernal police officer tried to pull over the driver of a pickup near 200 East and 700 South, according to Vernal Assistant Police Chief Keith Campbell.
The driver of the truck led the officer on a short chase before crashing into a weed-filled lot. After the crash, the driver got out of the truck and fired two shots at the officer, Campbell said.
The officer, who was not injured, fired seven shots in response as the driver and a passenger ran from the truck, Campbell said. Neither person was in custody Wednesday night, and police didn't know if either person was injured.
The officer did not recognize the people in the truck and was unable to provide a physical description of the individuals, the assistant chief said. Police dressed in tactical body armor used K-9s to search the field where the truck crashed, but did not find the driver or the passenger.
Campbell said the truck involved in the incident was reported stolen while officers were investigating the chase and subsequent shooting.
One of the bullets fired by the driver of the truck punched through the wall of Taylor and Annick Ehlers' apartment, coming to rest inside a closet that houses their hot water heater and air conditioning ducts.
"I was sleeping through all of it," said Annick Ehlers, who found it funny that she only learned about the shooting when two Vernal police officers knocked on her apartment door.
"I think it was kind of humorous," she said. "It didn't scare me because I didn't get hurt and there were police officers around me.
"It is scary that it was that close to my bedroom," Ehlers added. "My mom wants me to move, but no, I feel safe."
Detectives recovered the bullet from the Ehlers' apartment. They used a metal detector to search for a second bullet in the grass to the south of the couple's unit.
A forensics team from the Utah State Crime Lab and agents from the Utah Attorney General's Office traveled to Vernal to help local investigators process the crime scene.
The shooting will be investigated by detectives from the Duchesne and Uintah county sheriff's offices and the Naples Police Department who are assigned to a multi-agency task force that was created in the Uintah Basin following a recent change in state law.
Vernal police detectives are part of the task force as well, however, they were only at the scene Wednesday in a supporting role for those investigating the incident, according to Campbell, because state law now prohibits an agency from investigating any use-of-force incident involving one of its own.