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Fleeing vehicle causes 'horrendous' crash, killing one, police say

The driver of a white compact car is killed on scene early Monday morning after a stolen BMW crashes into the car at high speed.
The driver of a white compact car is killed on scene early Monday morning after a stolen BMW crashes into the car at high speed.
Adobe Stock photo

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A group trying to flee from police at an extremely high rate of speed hit another vehicle, killing the driver, late Sunday in a "horrendous" crash, police said.

"I think he just drove straight through that little car," said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller.

Michael Green, 36, of Farmington, was killed in the crash.

Two men and a woman, all approximately 25 years old, in a BMW SUV that hit the smaller Hyundai were hospitalized, all in serious condition. Keller said they were being guarded Monday afternoon by officers and would immediately be booked into the Salt Lake County Jail once they are discharged.

The incident began shortly before midnight Sunday. A Salt Lake police officer was checking license plates at the Wasatch Inn, 1416 S. State, when he came across an SUV that had been reported as stolen, Keller said. Just as the officer was calling for backup, three people exited a hotel room and got into the vehicle.

The officer attempted to pull the SUV over, but the trio drove around him and headed south on State Street at a high rate of speed, Keller said. The Salt Lake officer did not chase the vehicle.

The fleeing SUV, now traveling an estimated 100 mph or faster, approached the I-80 overpass. As the BMW went under I-80, a Hyundai driven by Green was either making a left turn to go onto the freeway or had just exited the freeway when the SUV collided with it on the passenger side, Keller said.

"Basically, the BMW drove through the Hyundai," he said.

The Salt Lake officer who initially attempted to pull over the BMW "saw and heard the crash 10 blocks away," Keller said.

The impact from the crash split the Hyundai in two. Green was ejected, landing "a good distance" in front of his car and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The BMW continued moving 200 to 300 more feet while "the engine and transmission come out of the BMW and are thrown on the east side of State Street," Keller said.

The impact from the violent crash also caused "chunks of asphalt" to be ripped from the road, according to investigators.

When the Salt Lake officer caught up with the BMW, all the occupants were out of the vehicle. "It's almost amazing they survived this crash," Keller said.

One of the men tried to run off and got as far as the South Salt Lake City Hall, about two blocks away, when he stopped and "he actually gets out his phone and calls in his location in need of medical care," the detective said.

Contributing: Ben Lockhart