SOUTH SALT LAKE — A man who police say fled from them a week ago and hid in a pile of manure was charged on Monday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash.
Adalberto Ozeta, 30, of Salt Lake City, is charged in 3rd District Court with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a third-degree felony.
On Jan. 8, police say Ozeta hit Yony Gutierrez at Gregson Avenue and Main Street. Surveillance video showed “Gutierrez was in the roadway with his fists up in a fighting manner, staring at the vehicle as it approached,” according to charging documents.
The SUV that Ozeta was driving struck Gutierrez, then slowed down but then drove off, the charges state. Police said they collected a Dodge emblem and a chrome decal of three skulls with flames at the scene that fell off the SUV during the collision.
Sandy police later reported that they were tracking a similar vehicle in the same area at the time of the crash and that the SUV was now parked at a motel in Taylorsville, the charges state. Investigators found the SUV and determined it was the one they were looking for in the crash.
Based on surveillance video from a gas station prior to the fatal crash, and dashcam video found in the SUV, detectives were able to come up with Ozeta as a suspect, according to the charges.
Police found Ozeta at his house and watched him work on another stolen SUV for two hours, the charging documents say. Officers then followed him to a parking lot in West Valley City on Jan. 16 and they attempted to take him into custody.
When police approached, Ozeta fled, sparking a wild chase into Utah County that ended with Ozeta attempting to hide in a pile of manure in a rural area of Elberta.
Also on Monday, Ozeta was charged in a separate case in 3rd District Court with identity fraud and possession of a forged writing, both third-degree felonies. In that case, he is accused of trying to cash a forged check using a fake ID, according to charging documents.
Ozeta has been charged numerous times since 2017, according to court records. In 2020 alone, he was charged in seven cases ranging from theft by receiving stolen property, drug possession with intent to distribute, fleeing, unlawful possession of a financial card and assault on police.
According to a police affidavit, Ozeta and at least two others “are involved in extensive criminal activity regarding vehicle burglary and vehicle theft, among other things, and are currently being investigated under RICO.”
RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a tool federal prosecutors use against those believed to be involved in ongoing criminal enterprises.
One of those other suspects, Daniel Mark Wright, 47, was also charged on Monday in 3rd District Court with forgery and theft by deception, both third-degree felonies. Court documents state Wright is also currently linked to at least six other court cases.