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Charges: Man crashes into Utah church, leaves friend who doctors say could have died

Police arrested a man who they say got into another man’s car and then flashed an airport employee ID badge, claiming he was a police officer.
A Taylorsville man has been charged with crashing into a church and then running off, leaving his friend who doctors say was in danger of bleeding out.
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MURRAY — A Taylorsville man has been charged with crashing into a church and then running off, leaving his friend who doctors say was in danger of bleeding out.

The man, 18, is charged in 3rd District Court with failing to stop at an injury accident, a third-degree felony; reckless driving and driving on a suspended license, class B misdemeanors.

On Jan. 1, police were called to a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5750 S. Nena Way (100 West), where a Jeep had crashed into the south side of the building, causing "extensive damage," according to charging documents. A person who was inside the church and heard the crash went outside in time to see two people driving away in another vehicle.

Officers found both the passenger and driver's side airbags deployed in the Jeep, but no one was in the vehicle. A wallet was also found in the vehicle. When police contacted the owner of the wallet, he admitted he was in the passenger seat when his friend "took the corner too fast," the charges state.

The next day, police interviewed a woman who was in the back seat of the Jeep who confirmed it "was going too fast to make the corner, they ran over a fence, and then the Jeep crashed into something," according to the charges.

While the other two people in the Jeep ran off after the crash, the woman said she had a friend pick her up and drive off. The friend took her to the hospital where doctors found a ruptured spleen, internal bleeding and a large cut on her leg, police say.

"The doctors told her that if she hadn't gone to the hospital, she most likely would have fallen asleep and not woken up, meaning she would have died. Her internal bleeding was so severe; she lost a lot of blood," according to charging documents.