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Utah Prisoner Kills Guard During Escape While on Medical Transport

by David M. Reutter

On June 25, 2007, a Utah state prisoner shot and killed a prison guard while escaping from a hospital where he had been taken to receive an MRI. The escape occurred at the University of Utah?s Orthopedic Clinic in Salt Lake City.

Prisoner Curtis Allgier, 27, was transported to the clinic to receive treatment for lower back pain. ?After Allgier was treated and was changing back into his prison clothing, he attempted to escape,? a booking statement from the Salt Lake County Jail said. ?Officer Stephen Anderson then attempted to prevent the escape.?

Apparently, Allgier wrestled Anderson?s gun away from him and shot him in the head, killing him. Anderson, 60, was a 22-year veteran of the Utah Department of Corrections (UDOC). Allgier fled out the clinic?s front door with a gun in his hand; he carjacked a Ford Explorer, forcing the occupants out.

He then drove to a friend?s house and changed clothes. Salt Lake Police familiar with Allgier anticipated the move, and converged on the area. As they arrived Allgier was leaving, which caused a crash among three police cars trying to stop him. Allgier then led police on a high speed chase.
Despite spiking the rear tires of the SUV, Allgier continued at speeds up to 70 mph on the rims. The chase ended with the heavily damaged Ford Explorer going over a sidewalk into the drive-thru of an Arby?s. ?Then I saw 50 or 60 cop cars right behind him,? said witness Mark Letterman. ?They started to go right after him, and drove right into the drive-thru.?

Shots were fired in the parking lot. ?Allgier entered the Arby?s and held the gun in the air and told everyone to get on the ground,? the booking report states. ?Two Arby?s employees then attempted to take Allgier into custody. Allgier pointed the gun [at] one employee and pulled the trigger. The gun had a malfunction and didn?t fire. Allgier then hit both employees with the gun.?

A former Army paratrooper, Eric Fullerton, 59, struggled with Allgier until the gun was knocked away. Police found Allgier hiding in the manager?s office and arrested him without further incident.

At the time of the escape try, Allgier was in state prison for a parole violation on convictions for burglary and an unrelated escape. He had been sentenced on June 14 to 104 months in federal prison for being a convicted felon in possession of a 9mm handgun during the previous escape.

Allgier is infamous on crime websites because of the tattoos that cover his head and face, which include a swastika and the words ?skin head? on his forehead. ?Mr. Allgier was born into white supremacy,? said his defense attorney, who added that Allgier?s family had introduced him to a ?criminal mindset? at a very early age. He now faces numerous charges including capital murder, which could result in the death penalty.

According to records obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, Allgier had previously planned a similar escape from a hospital in 2005, but prison officials were alerted by another prisoner and took additional security precautions, including assigning two guards for his hospital visits.

In the aftermath of the fatal June 25 escape attempt, prison officials temporarily locked down state prisoners and stopped all non-emergency transports. While they say Anderson complied with UDOC policies during the transport, a new policy, enacted days after Allgier?s attempted escape, requires two guards during all prisoner transports.

?It appears that having one-on-one transports may have been a bit risky,? said Utah corrections chief Tom Patterson. Patterson stated he would seek $1 million from the state legislature to hire more guards. The new transport policy also includes required leg restraints for prisoners and Tasers for transportation guards.

Several days after his failed escape, Allgier spoke with the local media ? he admitted to shooting Anderson but said it was an accident. The charges against him are pending with a preliminary hearing scheduled in February 2008. The incident remains under investigation by the Utah Dept. of Public Safety, including why only one guard accompanied Allgier during his clinic visit.

Sources: Associated Press; Desert Morning News; Salt Lake Tribune

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