Strong Winds Create Havoc Across Parts Of Utah
(KUTV) A real scare for dozens of families as a quick moving wind storm topples over trees, power lines, and even semi-trucks.

"Next thing I know I hear a crash," said Bryan Patnodd as he saw his neighbors huge pine tree come crashing down on top of their house in the Sugar House area around 1700 South and 1700 East.  "Oh yea it was scary -- there was just so much dust and wind and debris flying."

Fortunately for the Radcliff family that lives in the home, the massive tree in their front yard didn't come through the roof or break its way into the home.  "Surprise, a huge surprise. It's shocking," said Melissa Radcliff who wasn't at home at the time her tree fell. "I'm just happy everybody is safe."

But the trees were not the only problem, the winds also tipped over semi-trucks near Tremonton causing one of the drivers to go to the hospital in serious condition.

It also sent power lines crashing to the ground like right outside Karen Siirola's home in the Millcreek area. "Power zapping on and off," said Siirola. "And both trees started on fire."

The wind burst also sent power lines crashing to the ground at 5600 South and 900 East in Murray. One of the lines actually landed on top of someone's car. "Luckily for that gentleman he did the right thing. He stayed inside his insulated vehicle, nobody was hurt, we were lucky this time," said Sgt. Devan Higgins. He added "Could have been a lot worse."

By: Dan Rascon

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
University Hospital Nurse Placed On Paid Leave After Posting Racist Comments
(KUTV) A cardiac nurse at the University of Utah Hospital is on paid administrative leave after he made racist comments on social media sites Monday night. 

Todd Shrum, in reaction to the shooting of a Tongan man at the new federal court house in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday, commented on the 2News Facebook page saying, "Tongan Trash -- Kill Them All."  The reaction from the Tongan community was swift and angry, "If he's a racist idiot who likes to spew out racism then he needs to own up to it," says Akesa Fuapau of Glendale.  Fuapau says she is concerned that Shrum, a nurse, may not provide the same quality of care to all races.

Chris Nelson, spokesman for the University of Utah Healthcare says there is no indication that Shrum has provided poor care to minorities during his time as a nurse.  Shrum, however has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the U is investigating, it is possible that Shrum could lose his job, "Absolutely, that is absolutely on the table and we will make a decision on that in the next couple of days," says Nelson.

As for Shrum, he was eager to talk with 2News' Chris Jones about his comments, "poor choice of words Chris; very, very incredibly poor choice of words.  I meant no ill will towards the Tongan race whatsoever," says Shrum.

He goes on to say he is not racist at all, but his personal page is littered with negative comments about Muslins, Hispanics, and African Americans.  An example of this is his comments on a story concerning Muslims in Britain, Shrum posted, "KILL ALL The stinking Muzzies in the UK. Your problem will go away."  Also consider his reaction to a story about undocumented immigrants, saying, "Send all the illegals back to Mexico, then nuke Mexico, tired of all the worthless wet back trash stinking up this great country."  Another disturbing post by Shrum was directed toward an African American woman involved in an assault in a predominantly black city in Illinois, "Typical black liberal trash --They need to bomb East Saint Louis nothing but welfare trash there"

We pressed Shrum about his posts,
Chris Jones: "We've some of your other Facebook posts,"
Todd Shrum: " Yes, yes."
CJ: "Wetback?
TS: "Stupidity, stupidity, in its highest form."
CJ: "Some people might say that's not stupidity, that's in your DNA, that's' how you think."
TS: No sir, I disagree."
CJ: "Why's that?"
TS: "I just know who I am and that's not who I am."

What Shrum might be very soon is, unemployed.  The U says firing him is very much a possibility.

By: Chris Jones

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
Report Advises AG to Cooperate with Shurtleff and Swallow Accuser
(KUTV) Marc Sessions Jenson, the jailed accuser of former Utah attorneys general Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow is one step closer to forcing the former AG's to answer questions in court.  

"What Mr. Jenson has called for from the beginning is those individuals who put him in the situation of being the subject of the pay-to-play scheme be accountable for their actions," said Marcus Mumford, attorney for Jenson.  The court has not yet ruled on Jenson's request to allow him to subpoena the former AG's.

Jenson complained to the court that he was the subject of a "shake down" by Shurtleff and Swallow.  He claims he paid-off Shurtleff in exchange for the promise that he'd make his fraud case go away but when he ran out of money, Shurtleff and his then heir-apparent Swallow, threw him in jail.

Current Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes asked two well-respected individuals, a former judge and a former assistant U.S. attorney, to conduct an informal investigation on the matter.  Their recently-released report based on voluntary interviews with current and former employees of the Utah Attorney General's Office who worked with Shurtleff and Swallow, said that Shurtleff was so unusually involved in the prosecution of Jenson, that prosecutors in his office "began to wonder about whether he was a 'spy' passing along adverse information to Jenson." said one of the interviewees.

The authors of the report recommended to the current Attorney General, that he cooperate with Jenson's efforts to bring this matter to court, not because Jenson is innocent, but because "given the allegations that have swirled around the involvement of the attorney general and the notoriety of the entire situation, we believe that confidence in the criminal justice process will best be served if the state agrees to some appropriate public process for airing the matter in a court of law."

By: Cristina Flores

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
Winter Olympians Take Center Stage at Gov's State of Sport
(KUTV) Utah's finest athletes were honored Tuesday night at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, as part of the Governor's State of Sport Awards.
 
Athletes in ten categories were voted-on by Utah residents. Being an Olympic year, there was some impressive talent on display as Utah's winter sport athletes took center stage.
 
Governor Gary Herbert, being a former high school athlete, says the event shines a light on the importance sports have for personal growth and the community. "I think sports is a good metaphor for life for many of us," he said.
 
Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety spoke about representing Utah in the Sochi games. "You always know that Utah is a step above," he said. "Everybody, anywhere I go recognizes that Utah is a super special place to grow up and especially doing stuff on snow."
 
Sage Kotsenburg won the very first gold medal of the 2014 games. He's lived in Park City nearly his entire life and says his event, snowboard slopestyle, was a natural fit. "I just got so addicted to pushing myself to the limit every day."
 
Park City's Sarah Hendrickson was a nominee for 'Pro Female Athlete of the Year'. Sarah was part of the first-ever women's Olympic ski jump team.
 
"I watched the 2002 Olympics at the age of seven and watched the men fly through the air at the ski-jumping event," said Hendrickson. "I decided that's what I wanted to try."

For voting results and winners, visit: http://stateofsportawards.com

By: Chris Miller

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
UHP Video Shows High-Speed Chase and Capture of Convicted Felons
(KUTV) Two convicted felons are back in jail after a high-speed, multi-county police chase and a take-down that was all caught on high-definition camera in Utah Highway Patrol's new chopper.

The pursuit started in Summit County about 12:50 p.m., and ended on a Marriott-Slaterville farmer's property less than an hour later.

The helicopter, which has only been in use for about a month and features high-tech equipment, caught up with the criminals in Kaysville after multiple agencies had suspended their chase because of safety concerns.

"Obviously they kept running so they thought that they were going to get away," said UHP Chief Pilot Luke Bowman. "Very high rate of speed, going off on the shoulder to pass people."

Officers in Weber County set up spike strips, which were somewhat successful, but the pair kept driving north on I-15, at times reaching 120 miles per hour. They finally got off the highway at exit 346, winding west through rural Weber County, as a tactical officer communicated with agencies on the ground.

There they sped through stop lights and dodged cars until another tire blew, and the pair jumped out of the halting car. They ran for the closest home and hid under a tree. One of them, however, quickly gave himself up with the helicopter hovering above him. He laid in homeowner Frank Eggett's driveway and allowed arriving officers on the ground to swarm him.

"They see the aircraft and, at that point, you can see that they kind of lost their ambition," Bowman said.

The officers arrested him and found the other man hiding under Eggett's flatbed trailer.

"I was in just reading a book," said Eggett who assumed the commotion was his neighbor using his equipment. "The fact of the matter is, if they grabbed me, it could've got real ugly real fast."

Eggett said, had the criminals approached him, he would have pulled his gun on them.

"I tell people I have a .357 alarm system," Eggett said.

According to UHP, the men are felons from Texas who stole a car in Colorado on their way to Las Vegas. Troopers found an open alcohol container and drugs in the car but no weapons.

Justin St. John and Rodney Ray Milligan were booked into Summit County jail for possession of a stolen vehicle, failure to stop on foot, using or possessing drugs, having an open container in a vehicle and having non-registered license plates. Milligan is also facing charges of reckless driving, speeding and never obtaining a driver's license.

"What a scary thing for just a little, old farmer," Eggett said. "A little bit unnerving, a little rattled."

By: Christine McCarthy

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
Winds Topple Semi-Trucks In Box Elder County
(KUTV) The strong winds that tore across parts of Utah on Tuesday caused destruction along its path.

In Box Elder County the wind proved to be too much for a couple of semi-trucks that were blown off the road.

Lt. Lee Perry with the Utah Highway Patrol joined us on the phone to talk about the situation.

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
High Winds Increase Fire Danger in So. Utah
(KUTV) High winds blowing across Southern Utah have fire managers warning of extreme fire danger due to the area's already dry conditions and low humidity.

"It's just a recipe for problems," said Southwest Utah Fire Management Officer Mike Melton. "We're really keeping a close eye on the weather, we're keeping an eye on the fuels and we're really asking for the public's help."

Melton said the gusty winds will cause any potential fire to spread rapidly. In addition, the sustained winds further dry out the vegetation by causing the remaining snowpack to quickly evaporate.

"The winds are blowing across that snow and it's going away fast," he said.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for the western two thirds of Utah and Southwest Wyoming through Tuesday evening. The service says the strong south winds are due to an approaching cold front.

The Central Utah cities of Manti, Richfield, Delta, Fillmore, Beaver, Cedar City and Milford are under a high wind warning until 9 p.m. Tuesday. The Weather Service says gusts could be in excess of 60 mph and recommends securing outdoor items like trampolines and lawn furniture.

The winds could also pose a danger for high-profile vehicles and reduce visibility on roadways because of blowing dust. Those recreating at Lake Powell and other reservoirs are warned that choppy waters could capsize small watercraft.

In St. George, which is under a wind advisory until 9 p.m. Tuesday, open burning is banned until the winds die down. The fire chief says the winds can affect the behavior of any fire.

"Whether it's a brush fire, wild land or structure fire, car fires, anything like that, it could intensify any type of those fires," said St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker. "We're really dry already for the spring."

By: Ladd Egan

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)
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