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Mark Wetzel, KSL TV

Man critically injured in freeway crash dies, suspected DUI driver charged

By Pat Reavy, KSL.com | Posted - Apr. 6, 2021 at 8:02 p.m.



MILLARD COUNTY — A driver who suffered extensive injuries after being hit by a suspected drunk driver has died.

On Tuesday, the driver who allegedly caused the crash, Joseph Richard Gomez, 31, who had recently moved to Enoch though court records show him being from Miami, Arizona, was charged in Millard County's 4th District Court with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony. Gomez was also charged with DUI, a third-degree felony; having an open container in his vehicle on the freeway and driving on a suspended license, both class C misdemeanors; and a pair of traffic infractions.

On Saturday, witnesses said Gomez was driving erratically in a Nissan Maxima on I-15 south of Kanosh, Millard County, according to a police affidavit.

"It was described that the driver would change speeds dramatically, from around 30-40 mph and suddenly as high as an estimated 100 mph, all while weaving erratically and nearly striking several other vehicles," the affidavit states.

While trying to pass a pickup carrying a camper, Gomez clipped the rear of the vehicle, causing it to roll, according to the affidavit.

The driver of the pickup truck was believed to have died before emergency crews could extricate him from his vehicle, the affidavit stated at the time of Gomez's arrest, "but was revived by the ambulance crew during the transport to the hospital. He was then moved to Utah Valley Hospital but lacks brain activity and is not expected to survive."

The Utah Highway Patrol confirmed the man was taken off life support Tuesday.

A female passenger in the truck was also injured. The name of the man killed has not been released.

A Breathalyzer test registered Gomez's blood-alcohol level at 0.223%, or more than four times the legal limit, the affidavit notes.

Millard County sheriff's deputies also asked motorists and residents to be on the lookout for a dog — a Border Collie named Pfeiffer — that was also in the camper but ran from the scene after the crash.

"If found, please contact the sheriff's office so we can reunite him with his family to help alleviate some of their hardship," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook.

More pictures added. The Sheriff's Office would like to ask our citizens to be on the lookout for a dog that ran away...

Posted by Millard Sheriff on Monday, April 5, 2021

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