Hit-and-run suspect could face automobile homicide charges

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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Investigators say a man suspected of leaving the scene of a deadly crash on I-80 Wednesday night may have shown up at a hospital Thursday morning. Now, 34-year-old John Bishop could face a charge of automobile homicide.

The Utah Highway Patrol says Bishop showed up at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. Thursday, seeking medical attention.

Investigators didn't think the jail would take Bishop with his injuries, so they let him go home after he was released from the hospital.

We've learned Bishop and some of the passengers work at Global Marketing Alliance in Salt Lake City, which does sales and consulting.

A former employee told us Bishop is a top manager there. Another manager said company officials couldn't talk to us on the advice of their attorney.

Bishop isn't talking either. When investigators confronted him at the hospital about the crash, he denied being involved and said he wanted to speak to a lawyer.

Regardless, the UHP says it has enough information to pursue charges. "We do have witnesses that say he was the driver. He has not admitted to being the driver but, again, we do have witnesses that say he was the driver," Trooper Mike Holt said.

Witnesses reported seeing the BMW involved in the crash traveling more than 100 miles per hour on I-80 before slamming into the rear end of a Mercedes.

Troopers say Clifton R. Tolboe, Trent Longhurst, Jonah Lor, Paul Castellanos and 26-year-old Jason Palmer were also in the BMW with Bishop. Palmer was thrown from the vehicle and died on scene. The other passengers in the BMW had various injuries ranging from serious to critical.

UHP believes Bishop likely knew his friends were hurt.

A friend of the victim called KSL Thursday morning and said the group had been at a club Wednesday night celebrating Bishop's birthday, and the alleged driver was intoxicated at the club.

That friend says the man was trying to show off his new BMW by speeding, and when he attempted to change lanes, ended up crashing into the other car.

"This was a very serious incident we had last night," Holt said. "It was very serious, hard impact, everybody in the BMW were injured. We were lucky the people in the Mercedes came out of it OK."

Kathleen and Andrew Blank, from Park City, were in the Mercedes. Andrew Blank was taken to the hospital with back injuries.

"Alcohol is suspect in this one, so we've got fleeing the scene of a serious accident with a fatal involved. Automobile homicide is an option we're looking at right now. It's still under investigation, so there are charges that are pending on this," Holt said.

The UHP says it will be screening charges with the district attorney's office on Monday and will proceed from there.


Story compiled with information from Sandra Yi, Shara Park and Andrew Adams.


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