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Staffer at youth rehab facility killed by teen resident, police say

Turn-About Ranch is pictured in Escalante on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. The Garfield County Sheriff's Office said a 61-year-old man died from injuries he sustained during an assault, and a female staff member was injured when she confronted the suspect. A 17-
Turn-About Ranch is pictured in Escalante on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. The Garfield County Sheriff's Office said a 61-year-old man died from injuries he sustained during an assault, and a female staff member was injured when she confronted the suspect. A 17-year-old boy was arrested.
Marc Weaver, Deseret News

ESCALANTE, Garfield County — A 61-year-old man died Tuesday from injuries he sustained during an assault at a youth rehabilitation facility in southern Utah, police say.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the incident at the Turn-About Ranch in Escalante.

The male staffer was assaulted about 7:30 a.m., according to a prepared statement from the Garfield County Sheriff's Office. A juvenile who witnessed the attack ran for help and a female staff member "confronted the suspect, preventing him from entering the building," which helped protect others who were inside, according to the sheriff's office.

"She was assaulted and injured during the confrontation."

The woman was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The male staffer died while en route to a nearby hospital, according to a ranch official. Neither the facility nor police released his name Tuesday.

The injured staff members both suffered "significant head trauma," Shane Young, admissions director for the Turn-About Ranch, said in a prepared statement. He praised the injured woman for protecting others at the facility.

"We and our students are grateful for the bravery of our staff," Young said. "Despite significant injuries to herself, the (injured) staff member kept the rest of the students safe."

The 17-year-old allegedly stole a staff member's car after the assaults, eventually leading two sheriff's deputies on a high-speed chase that ended when a deputy disabled the fleeing vehicle using a PIT maneuver.

Police did not release the name of the arrested juvenile on Tuesday nor did they say what crimes he is being investigated of committing.

The Turn-About Ranch is a working cattle ranch that aims to help troubled youths. Young said the facility is "deeply saddened" by the staff member's death.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with everyone involved in this tragic incident. His caring personality and loyal dedication to helping the youth in our program will be greatly missed," Young said. "His good nature and commitment to our students had a positive impact on those who attended and worked at Turn-About Ranch. This tragedy affects a significant number of people. With heavy hearts, we mourn with his family and honor his service and character."

Young declined to comment further on the investigation into what happened or release additional information about the teen.

"Working with troubled youth comes with certain risks, nevertheless, we wish to express our commitment to continue to provide outstanding values-based treatment for troubled youth as we have done for the last 25 years — something that has been and continues to be possible because of our great staff," he said.

Contributing: Ben Lockhart