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Investigators say an Idaho man whose car crashed into a natural gas regulator Tuesday was then shot in an "exchange of gunfire" with an armed emergency medical technician, who also works as a reserve police officer in Cache County.
Cade M. Austin, 30, of Preston, was driving on U.S. Highway 91 about a mile south of the Idaho border at about 12:45 p.m. when a witness reported he was driving erratically, Logan police Chief Gary Jensen wrote in a news release Wednesday.
The man's vehicle then crashed into a large natural gas regulating device, which began to spew gas, Jensen wrote.
The first responders to arrive were EMTs from Smithfield City Fire Department. Assistant Chief Jeremy Hunt, also a reserve officer for North Park police, was among them. As the EMTs approached the car, Austin "was reportedly not appropriate and not cooperative," Jensen wrote.
He "produced a firearm, pointing it at the EMT first responders," Jensen wrote.
Hunt, who has a concealed firearms license, was carrying a gun.
"Logan City detectives and State Crime Lab technicians are still piecing together the sequence of events," Jensen wrote, "but it is believed there was an exchange of gunfire, followed by a rapid retreat of all personnel to positions of cover."
As law enforcement officers arrived, a "standoff" continued from 1:04 p.m. to 2:18 p.m., Jensen wrote.
Austin "remained in his car, appeared to be wounded in the exchange of gunfire, but continued to gesture at police and [wave] what appeared to be a gun," Jensen wrote. "The scene was dangerously exacerbated by the gas line continuing to forcefully expel natural gas into the air and surrounding area."
SWAT officers from Cache County and Logan arrived, as did a natural gas line repair crew but the teams were stalled by what Jensen previously described as "competing safety issues."
The SWAT team could not safely engage an armed suspect while the area was potentially exposed to combustible gas, and the natural gas crew could not safely repair the leak near an armed suspect, Jensen said.
Austin appeared to lose consciousness more than an hour into the standoff, police wrote. SWAT officers then removed him from the car and took him to a Logan hospital, where he was then flown to an Ogden hospital.
Jensen said Tuesday that doctors were optimistic the man would survive.
No one else was wounded by gunfire.
Crews stopped the flow of natural gas to the ruptured line after Austin was removed.
Logan police are investigating the shooting; Utah Highway Patrol is investigating the crash of Austin's car, which caused the gas leak.
Tribune reporter Bob Mims contributed to this story