In Salt Lake County, Utah, a woman was saved from her impending murder by passing firefighters who happened upon the scene at the right time.
The woman was being strangled beneath an overpass along Interstate 80 near Parley’s Canyon. The Unified Fire crew just happened to be driving beneath the Quarry Exit overpass, returning from a reported grass fire.
They’d received a report of a grass-fire in nearby in Parley’s Canyon, only to find it was a false alarm. They were attempting to turn their vehicle around when they saw that their passage was being blocked by a car sitting in the middle of the road beneath the overpass. Instead of merely passing another way, they backed up to see what was going on, observed a woman being assaulted by a man with a rope, and ultimately saved her from what likely would have been her murder.
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) July 6, 2016
The Salt Lake County Jail Arrest Fact Sheet stated that the 22-year-old man, Juan Echeveste, “was observed pulling on a rope that has been strung over a metal pipe with the other end around the female’s neck. Witnesses reported that the female was crying and attempting to grab at the rope around her neck.”
They said the rope was strung to a pipe about 15 feet in the air on the side of the structure. The firefighters observed this and reported that the man was trying to hang her. He apparently stopped when he saw the firefighters arriving and then forced the woman into a car, according to a report by AOL News. The firefighters then took action on the woman’s behalf and saved her, says Unified Fire Authority Public Information Officer Eric Holmes.
“They felt like her life was in danger and from the moment they pulled up and saw what was going on.”
The firefighters saved the woman from the suspect’s car and placed her inside their firetruck, then restrained the suspect. Sergeant Randy Riches with the Utah State Bureau of Investigation spoke up on their behalf, saying these firefighters pulled the woman to safety and managed to restrain the suspect until a Utah Highway Patrol trooper arrived on the scene and took action.
“They felt like something needed to happen to protect her. They felt if they were to allow that vehicle to travel down the road with her in it that her life would come to an end very shortly.”
Now, people are calling these passing firefighters heroes. Officer Holmes said “these guys stepped in when they didn’t have to and made a massive impact on somebody’s life.” He went on to call their actions “heroic,” even though they “don’t like to use those terms.” Sergeant Riches agreed.
“It’s not something they’re trained to do. It’s not something they practice in but they have that instinct in them because they are first responders and they sign up for the job for a reason.”
The woman told police that Echeveste had tried to murder her, strangling her on at least one other occasion, that this wasn’t the first time he’d been violent with her, said Good4Utah news.
She told investigators she had been punched in the stomach and dragged from the car by Escheveste. The Department of Public Safety said the attempted murder victim and the suspect knew each other, but wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the relationship.
Echeveste was arrested and jailed on suspicion of attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping, and faces first-degree felony charges on both. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office is currently reviewing the charges. In addition to those charges, FBI agents were contacted and a federal detainer was placed on Escheveste, says KSL News.
The woman was treated for minor cuts and bruises, but was said to be okay. According to witnesses and investigators, the woman was saved from certain murder by passing firefighters who were brave enough to take action.
[Photo by KPG Payless 2/Shutterstock Images]