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Utahn charged with running away from crash as his uncle lay dying

SHARE Utahn charged with running away from crash as his uncle lay dying
The Scott M. Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

A Salt Lake man was charged Friday with running away from a crash that injured his uncle and best friend, who later died.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

MURRAY — A Salt Lake man was charged Friday with crashing the vehicle he was driving, then running away as his uncle lay dying in the passenger seat.

Francisco Jesus Madrid, 30, is charged in 3rd District Court with leaving the scene of an accident involving death and obstructing justice, both third-degree felonies.

On March 18, Murray police responded to a crash at 5730 S. 1300 East where a Nissan Altima had hit a power pole. The driver, Madrid, ran from the scene before officers arrived, according to charging documents. The passenger, Juan “Johnny” Rodriguez, was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

A witness told police that after the crash, Madrid “attempted to open the passenger door, but it would not open. Madrid went back and forth from the driver side to the passenger side before fleeing the area,” the charges state.

Based on surveillance video, police say Madrid ran away about 2 12 minutes after crashing.

Investigators were able to track Madrid’s steps, learning that he had taken a taxi to a motel in downtown Salt Lake City, the charges state. Police kept surveillance on the motel until a man who “appeared to have a freshly shaven head and face” exited a room they were watching and walked to a TRAX platform.

Madrid was taken into custody at the next TRAX stop.

As he was being transported to jail, Madrid told police “that Johnny was his uncle and his best friend. Madrid wanted to know if his family knew what he had done and if they were mad at him,” according to the charges.