SPANISH FORK — A man was shot by a Utah County sheriff's deputy early Monday after the man allegedly hit another deputy with his car.
At last word, Wade Leon Willis, 38, of Springville, was in critical condition but his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, according to the sheriff's office.
The deputy — who first had his foot run over and was then knocked onto the hood of Willis' vehicle, smashing the windshield — was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and was later released, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. The deputy was resting at home Monday afternoon.
Investigators believe prior to the shooting, the same vehicle — and likely the same driver — was involved in incidents with police in two other cities in Utah County.
Cannon said it all began with a traffic stop in Lehi about 4 p.m. Sunday. While an officer was talking to the driver, a passenger slid into the driver's seat and drove off. That driver is believed to be Willis, though detectives had not confirmed that Monday, Cannon said.
A short time later, the vehicle was spotted again by American Fork police. An officer briefly chased the vehicle before terminating the pursuit due to public safety concerns.
About 12:50 a.m. Monday, the vehicle was spotted again, this time parked along the side of the road near 200 E. Center St. in Spanish Fork, Cannon said. It appeared at the time that Willis was "slumped over" the steering wheel, he said.
Several sheriff's deputies and Spanish Fork police officers closed in and tried to block the car, Cannon said. Officers then got out of their vehicles and approached Willis' car.6 comments on this story
But just seconds after officers got out of their patrol vehicles, Willis tried to drive away. His car pulled out of its parking spot while turning, Cannon said. The vehicle first ran over an officer's foot, and as it continued to turn, knocked that same officer onto the hood and smashed the windshield, he said.
Another deputy fired at least one round, striking Willis in the shoulder. His vehicle went about another 30 yards before the driver stopped and surrendered, Cannon said.
Neither the name of the injured deputy nor the one who fired the shot were released Monday, but Cannon said they are both veteran officers.
Willis has an extensive criminal history over the past 20 years with multiple arrests and convictions for drug, theft, burglary and weapons-related charges, according to court records.