LIMON, Colo. (CBS4) - Trucker Ladonna Woosley sat in her disabled truck long after a difficult night had ended. The semi had idled so long, the engine was gummed up and she was awaiting repair help.
"I slept through most of it but caught some of the gunfire," she said. "I was scared to death."
Woosley was in one of two trucks a thief was allegedly trying to steal from when the other trucker called authorities about 3 a.m. Thursday. The first Lincoln County Sheriff's deputy to the scene was Michael Hutton.
"Within seconds of being out of his car and investigating this theft, he was met with a hail of gunfire and struck multiple times," said Lincoln County Sheriff Captain Michael Yowell.
Hutton was wearing a protective vest, but none of the shots, believed fired from a handgun, struck it. He was brought to the hospital in Hugo and flown to Denver for treatment. A photo later released by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office showed Hutton in good spirits with his thumb raised. His condition at last word Thursday afternoon was serious but stable.
Hutton is a seven-year veteran of the department and served in the Air Force as a police officer before that. He has a wife and son.
"We're talking about a guy who is part of our tactical team who is one of the nicest guys you'll meet," said Yowell.
"Definitely a member of the community that cares about our families and our children's safety," said resident Gillian Laycock.
"Everybody locally loves him," said mom Kelsey Boyd. "Very good officer. Does great with the kids in the morning and stuff like that."
"I was scared for him and I'm glad he's alright and pulling through this," said Woosley.
She was unhurt, but the other trucker was grazed. He refused medical treatment. The suspect ran off into the darkness and heavy fog. Later, investigators found his body in a field about 1,000 feet away. Lincoln County Corner Andy Lorensen said the man, 25 years old and from Ohio, had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. If he had been after anything of value in the trucks, he hadn't found it. Woosley said the other trucker was carrying beer. She was hauling Gatorade.
Woosley was glad it was all over and ready to move on, but the day had been long.
"I'm so tired that I can't see straight now anyway," she said.
"My thoughts and prayers go to his family," she added about Deputy Hutton.
In Hugo, Kelsey Boyd held her young son, hoping for the day he'd go to school.
"I look forward to them going to school as long as I know that Officer Hutton or somebody is there."
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