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  • SOUTHERN UTAH MEMORIES: Alan Boyack’s service in the law included defense lawyer, family lawyer, and State Medical Examiner investigator
    by Loren Webb
    Published - 09/23/13 - 10:04 AM | 0 0 comments | 589 589 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    (WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah) - Part 1 of a two-part story.

    Alan Boyack’s first recollection of law enforcement in Washington County was when Sheriff Antone Prince came to speak to the elementary school Boyack was attending.

    Prince told Boyack’s class of six-year-olds that someone had vandalized the LDS Tabernacle. Elba Owen “Micky” Clark was identified as the perpetrator – as having put glue in the organ and committed other acts of vandalism in the historic building.

    Boyack told me in a July 7, 2004 interview, that he later learned Clark did not commit the vandalism. Instead, it was a female who Boyack declined to identify.

    Antone Prince was the father of J.C. Prince, who was a classmate of Boyack’s.

    “Antone was classy,” Boyack said. “He always drove with both fingers on the wheel. He never wore a uniform and only once in a while did he wear a gun.”

    Back when Boyack was growing up, he said there was no dispatching system for police officers. Instead, red lights were turned on near the top of the LDS Tabernacle tower to let police know they needed to call a telephone operator, who then relayed the necessary information to dispatch a police officer to where ever a call for help originated.

    There was the time when Boyack had an encounter with St. George Police officer Vern Leavitt. It happened when Boyack and another youth were shooting BB guns in the vicinity of an LDS chapel that was under construction at the corner of 100 South and 400 East. Boyack and the other youth accidentally hit a bay window at the residence of George Seegmiller, who lived just south of the chapel.

    In 1956, Roy “Run em off” Renauf, as Boyack referred to him, was elected sheriff of Washington County. That was the year, state officials executed Verne Alfred Braasch and Melvin LeRoy Sullivan. They were convicted of killing a Standard service station attendant in Beaver, Utah on Oct. 22, 1949, according to author L. Kay Gillespie’s book, The Unforgiven.

    The May 11, 1956 execution was conducted by the Iron County sheriff where the trial had been held. Because Renauf was still recuperating from injuries he received when a horse he was riding in the August 1955 Dixie Roundup Rodeo parade fell on him, Boyack, then 16 years old, drove Renauf to the execution and Boyack was in the area when Braasch and Sullivan were executed.

    In 1956, Hollywood film producers were filming the movie, King and Four Queens, starring Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker. There was a sequence where Gable is to get underneath a bridge in the Santa Clara Creek.

    Evan Whitehead, who owned a backhoe operation, was hired to dig a deep hole in the creek. Boyack was hired by the movie company as a laborer to help with digging the hole. The movie director wanted Vaughn Blackburn, another local resident, to walk across the creek to check the creek depth. Just as he started to walk across the creek, Evan Whitehead whispered something in Blackburn’s ear, Boyack said, noting he saw Blackburn reluctantly nod his head.

    Shortly, afterward, Clark Gable walked into the creek and as he gets to the part where Whitehead had dug the hole, Gable sunk clear over his head into the big hole.

    The movie company had to reshoot the scene and never did use the scene in the final movie cut, Boyack said.

    In 1958, Boyack began going on ride-alongs with city police officers. He rode around a lot with Officer Bill Condie. Boyack remembers trying to arrest Lyman Smokey, a local resident who was routinely arrested for public intoxication.

    Lyman took a chain he had in his hand and whipped it around to where it hit the top of the car. Boyack was inside the car, and said, “if it had hit me, it would have killed me.”

    Lyman was a veteran of the Korean War and was a fantastic artist, but he had a problem with alcohol, Boyack said.

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