9/24/2013 4:51:00 PM Highway Patrol officer shot, drives to hospital
DPS Highway Patrol Officer Seth Meeske
PAYSON -- DPS Highway Patrol Officer Seth Meeske made a traffic stop on a white car just after 10 p.m. Saturday night on State Route 87, south of Payson. When Meeske approached the right side of the car, 22-year-old Cody Archuleta allegedly shot him three times through the passenger window: One shot through the officer's forearm, one shot in the left leg and the third shot hit the back of Meeske's vest.
Archuleta then left him bleeding at the roadside and fled north on SR 87, according to the report. Meeske was able to return to his patrol car and radio for help. He then drove himself to the Payson hospital and walked into the Emergency Room.
DPS Highway Patrol Officer Robert Derango, on his very first day as a solo patrol officer, heard the Meeske's call for help, saw Archuleta speed through a red light in downtown Payson and began a pursuit at speeds reaching 100 mph.
Officers from the Payson PD and a Gila County Sheriff's Office deputy the joined the pursuit. After 40 miles, Archuleta drove off the road into a ditch near milepost 289. Archuleta got out of his vehicle and began shooting at officers, who returned fire, according to the report.
Archuleta is believed to have shot himself in the head. Officers gave first aid and a DPS Ranger helicopter landed to help but a medic pronounced Archuleta dead at the scene.
Officer Meeske was airlifted to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital and underwent surgery. He is now doing well and in good spirits.
His family has expressed their sincere thanks to the public for their concerns. The family has requested that they have time to recover as a family.
"Words fail me in describing the incredible bravery and presence of mind exhibited by Officer Seth Meeske during this incident," said Robert Halliday, Director of DPS. "He is alive today because of his quick thinking after being shot numerous times. The men and women of DPS have a very difficult job and perform it with courage every day. As we have seen too many times, it is dangerous work.
He also hailed the intergovernmental cooperation that resolved the issue.