Utah Detective dies in chopper crash

By Michael N. Westley and Jason Bergreen
The Salt Lake Tribune

Uintah County, UT -- As word of Uintah County Sheriff's Detective Kevin Orr's death spread through the rural county, those who knew him said he will be missed greatly. 

Orr, an 11-year veteran killed in a helicopter crash on Tuesday, leaves behind a wife, Holly Orr, and four children under the age of 12. They live in Lapointe, a small farming town west of Vernal.

"[Kevin] died doing what he loved to do. He was always the first one to respond and out trying to help someone else," said Orr's brother-in-law, Eric Hartle. "In our eyes he died a hero."

Orr and pilot Brian Grayson from Reno, Nev., were in the helicopter searching for a missing Jensen woman when it struck power lines and dropped into the Green River about 12:50 p.m. Sheriff's Lt. John Laursen confirmed Orr's death this morning. 

Orr, 34, was the 116th law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty in Utah and the third to die in a helicopter crash, according to Robert Kirby, a Tribune columnist and police historian.

Laursen said Grayson, who was taken to University Hospital, was doing "a lot better.... We spoke with him this morning. He was alert and conscious." 

The helicopter, owned by Martin Drilling, hit a 69,000-volt transmission line that runs parallel to Jensen and across the Green River, said Moon Lake Electric Co. spokesman Russell Cowan. 

Several Moon Lake employees were sent to the area and confirmed the helicopter was in the water, he said. 

The helicopter was being used to look for 25-year-old Kimberly Michelle Turney, who was last seen Friday before she was involved in a car crash near the area of Tuesday's helicopter crash. Turney has not been heard from since the automobile accident. 

Search crews also were scouring the area on foot when the helicopter went down, the sheriff's office reported. 

The transmission line provides power to customers from Jensen to Dinosaur, Colo., about 25 miles away, Cowan said. 

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