This undated booking photo provided by the Idaho State Police shows Jonathan Llana. A search was underway Thursday, May 23, 2019, in southern Idaho for Llana, suspected of shooting and killing a motorist on a Utah highway, Idaho State Police said in a statement. (Idaho State Police via AP)

Police search for driver suspected in Utah highway killing

May 23, 2019 - 3:29 pm

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Police in Idaho were searching Thursday near a small town for a man suspected of shooting and killing a motorist along a desolate stretch of interstate highway in Utah.

Jonathan Llana, 45, of Los Angeles was being sought near Burley after crashing his car during a chase by authorities, Idaho State Police said, describing him as armed and dangerous.

Officials said they didn't know a motive for the shooting Wednesday night on a stretch of Interstate 84 called Rattlesnake Pass in northern Utah.

Victim Dennis Gwyther of Salt Lake City and a passenger were traveling in a Range Rover from Salt Lake City to Boise, Idaho, for work, Utah State Bureau of Investigation Lt. Ryan Van Fleet said,

Llana owns a silver Volkswagen Jetta that Idaho troopers pursued until it crashed into a canal along Interstate 86, Van Fleet said.

The driver ran and authorities were searching for him Thursday, with the assistance of a helicopter, officials said.

"We think he's still out there ... running through the fields," Van Fleet said during a news conference in Salt Lake City. "We really think we're getting close on this."

Llana was described as 5 feet 10 inches (1.8 meters) tall, weighing about 150 pounds (68 kilograms), with black hair and brown eyes.

Van Fleet said there was no indication the two drivers had interacted before the Wednesday shooting.

The attack occurred after the Jetta and Range Rover cleared a traffic slowdown that resulted when two big rigs were side by side as one passed the other, Van Fleet said.

The passenger in the Range Rover called 911 to report the shooting and provided a description of the Jetta, which had a unique antennae, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Another motorist — an emergency medical technician — stopped to help and confirmed the driver had died. The injured passenger was taken to a hospital.

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