Cops: Firefighters Take 'Random' Exit, Stop a Murder

Man was attempting to hang woman in underpass: cops
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2016 10:52 AM CDT
Firefighters Take 'Random' Highway Exit, Stop a Murder
Juan Echeveste Alba, 22.   (Salt Lake County Jail)

Firefighters were expecting to find, well, flames. Instead, they discovered a man attempting to hang a woman beneath an overpass near Utah's Parleys Canyon on Friday, police say. A four-man crew responding to a report of smoke at the mouth of the canyon around 8pm found nothing troubling, so they "picked a random exit off Interstate 80 to turn their vehicle around," reports Gephardt Daily. There, they found their way blocked by a car "awkwardly positioned" beneath the underpass, says Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Riches. A short distance away, they spotted a man pulling "a rope tied around the female's neck and strung from a pipe about 15 feet in the air on the side of the structure," Riches tells KSL. "The female was crying and attempting to grab at the rope that was around her neck," according to a jail report.

The man then took the woman to his car in an attempt to avoid the firefighters, but "they didn't hesitate, they rushed right in," says Riches. The firefighters got the woman out of the car and into their fire engine and held the suspect until police arrived, he says. Juan Echeveste Alba, 22, of Salt Lake City, has since been charged with attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping. His relationship to the victim—who was treated for only minor cuts and bruises—is unclear, per Fox 13, though the woman told investigators that Alba had tried to hurt her previously and once cut off her air supply until she saw dots. "I guess it's better to be lucky than good sometimes," says a United Fire Authority rep. "Had it not been for the smoke call and had they gone one more exit, they never would have found her." (More Utah stories.)

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