Escapees caught after one week in high-speed chase

SALT LAKE CITY – Two escaped prisoners who were on the run for almost a week were arrested after a high-speed chase, started after a retired police officer called 911 when the two convicted killers broke into his home, authorities said.

Danny Martin Gallegos, 49, and Juan Carlos Diaz-Arevalo, 27, who escaped from a Utah jail on Sept. 23, had apparently stolen guns and the SUV at knifepoint from the officer Saturday night, said Detective Dick Blust of the Sweetwater County, Wyo., sheriff’s office.

The officer, who was duct taped in the break in, managed to free himself and call for help after the two men left in his SUV.

“It took him an hour to loosen himself from the duct tape bonds,” Blust said Sunday night. “Had he not had that kind of courage, toughness and willpower, he’d have laid there for hours and hours and hours and given them more time.”

The officer, whose name was not released, called 911 around 9:30 p.m. His vehicle was spotted at a parking lot eight minutes later and the chase began, Blust said.

A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper spiked the tires and the chase ended between Rock Springs and Green River, about 100 miles east of the Utah-Wyoming state line. Both men came out of the SUV with guns and Gallegos started to turn toward officers with a rifle, Blust said.

Gallegos was hit with the only shot fired in the capture because he refused to drop his gun, Blust said.

Diaz-Arevalo ran, but officers quickly caught up and took him into custody, authorities said. He had dropped his handgun before the officers reached him. Diaz-Arevalo was taken to the Sweetwater County Jail, where he remained Sunday night.

Gallegos was taken to a hospital in Rock Springs, Wyo., then flown to the University of Utah hospital early Sunday, where he was being guarded. He was in critical condition.

The pair escaped from the Daggett County Jail in northeast Utah on Sept. 23 by climbing a fence.

Authorities searched for six days in a rugged region along the Utah-Wyoming line.

The pair had been sent to the Daggett County jail, 120 miles east of Salt Lake City, over the summer because of a lack of room in the state prison. Diaz-Arevalo was convicted of murder and child abuse in 2006. Gallegos was convicted of aggravated murder in 1991.

They will likely face additional charges connected to the escape, but authorities were still sorting out jurisdictional issues Sunday.

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