Deputy cleared in shooting
Box Elder County Sheriff’s deputy Austin Bowcutt will be back on patrol after being cleared in the shooting death of Troy Clark Burkinshaw following a traffic stop and subsequent chase in Corinne on Oct. 26. County attorney Stephen R. Hadfield released his findings following a month-long investigation.
Hadfield analysis of the deputy’s conduct said, “He (Bowcutt) was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he first observed Mr. Burkinshaw inappropriately urinating in plain view just off of the highway, and was justified in making the initial traffic stop. During his initial contact with Mr. Burkinshaw, Deputy Bowcutt observed what appeared to be an easily accessible alcoholic beverage container, smelled the odor of alcohol, noted some nervous and evasive behavior, and was unable to obtain a drivers license. These circumstances provided Deputy Bowcutt with a reasonable suspicion that Mr. Burkinshaw may be committing the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol.”
Hadfield further wrote, “Deputy Bowcutt’s suspicion was increased when he was unable to verify the name and birth date that Mr. Burkinshaw had provided (and) acted appropriately…in following Mr. Burkinshaw when he fled the traffic stop.
“Deputy Bowcutt’s pursuit of Mr. Burkinshaw, with lights and siren…was appropriate and justified by the circumstances of which Deputy Bowcutt was reasonably aware. Deputy Bowcutt acted appropriately throughout the chase when he chose not to ram Mr. Burkinshaw’s vehicle with his patrol truck despite having some opportunities to do so.”
Hadfield’s investigation in to the shooting further states, “By the time Mr. Burkinshaw drove down the dead end road, Deputy Bowcutt also had probable cause to effect an arrest…for the felony crime of evading a peace officer…Immediately upon exiting his patrol truck, Deputy Bowcutt gave several appropriate and loud commands to Mr. Burkinshaw. (These can be heard on the dash-cam video recording posted on the Leader website.)
“After finding himself in front of Mr. Burkinshaw’s vehicle, Deputy Bowcutt continues to give loud commands while he is retreating backwards as the moving vehicle actually comes into contact with his legs on several occasions.
“When Deputy Bowcutt feels the rev of the engine on his legs, he reasonably feels that his life is in danger and his only option is to use deadly force and fire his weapon… Consequently, we are of the opinion that Deputy Austin Bowcutt was justified in using deadly force against Troy Clark Burkinshaw.”