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Summit County Sheriff's Office

Driver of ski rental van charged in fatal auto-pedestrian crash

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Mar. 31, 2020 at 4:58 p.m.

PARK CITY — The driver of a ski rental van in Park City that hit and killed a pedestrian in February has been charged.

Nicholas Thorston Westland, 24, of Salt Lake City, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a third-degree felony.

On Feb. 6, Thomas Chauvel, 43, of Corona Del Mar, California, was hit by a van while crossing the road at 1482 Empire Avenue in Park City.

“Chauvel was unconscious. Chauvel was transported to the hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries,” according to charging documents.

A witness was able to take a picture of the van’s license plate and determined it was registered to Black Tie Ski Rental. Police contacted the company who then contacted their driver, Westland, and told him to return to the scene of the crash, the charges state.

“Westland made several other statements wherein he acknowledged knowing that he struck a pedestrian and then drove away from the scene,” according to charging documents.

When asked why he didn’t stop if he knew he had bumped a pedestrian, Westland replied, “anyone’s first reaction would have been scared (expletive),” according to a police affidavit.

When told that the man was “barely hanging on to life,” Westland replied, “I cannot stress it enough how immature I acted,” the affidavit states.

At the police station, Westland continued to make comments like, “Man I just feel so (expletive) horrible” and “I have never felt like this. It is not even scary. It’s just the fact that what happened. The fact that man was just walking in the road. I just didn’t ... see him dude,” according to the affidavit. That was followed by “something softly that sounded like ‘I never wanted to hurt anyone,’” the officer noted.

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