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ST. GEORGE — Police say a 39-year-old man jumped and was not pushed from a moving vehicle on I-15 Tuesday, and criminal charges may be filed against the driver.
The incident occurred Tuesday just before 11 a.m. on I-15 near St. George, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. Witnesses told investigators that the front passenger door of a 2005 Dodge minivan opened and a male passenger "lunged" from the vehicle. The man, 39-year-old Edgar Perez-Bartlol, from Northfield, Minnesota, was not hit by other vehicles but suffered severe head trauma, according to UHP.
Witnesses said after Perez-Bartlol fell from the vehicle, the minivan stopped briefly and then continued driving south on the freeway. Perez-Bartlol was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in very critical condition.
Initially, police were unsure if Perez-Bartlol had been pushed from the moving vehicle by the driver or if he had jumped. After further investigation by UHP and the State Bureau of Investigations, it was determined that "Perez-Bartolo was having mental health issues and that his actions … were self-inflicted," UHP said.
Investigators located the minivan in California. They discovered the driver, Guillermo Arturo Gomez-Reyes 37, from Northfield, Minnesota, and 13- and 10-year-old males had been driving from Minnesota to California to visit family with Perez-Bartlol.
The investigation is ongoing, and Gomez-Reyes is cooperating with investigators, UHP said. Potential criminal charges will be screened by the county prosecutor's office.