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Utah man hit by driver at 70 mph warns others not to run red lights

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It seems like common sense, but Michael Kanz believes it is worth repeating: “Don’t run red lights, just don’t,” he said.

Kanz was one of three people injured in a crash on Bangerter Highway and California Avenue in March. A speeding driver and his passenger ran a red light and slammed into Kanz’s car. The passenger, Danyelle Marie Jennings, 44, was killed in the rollover, while the driver, Felix Calata, 31, was taken to the hospital. Kanz was also taken to the hospital with numerous broken bones.

Michael Kanz

Kanz said he did not remember much about the crash but can recall the moments after.

“The only thing I remember seeing was explosions of light,” he said. “I was in and out the next couple of days.”

He said his situation, sadly, is not unique, but it is one he hoped to never be in.

“I shouldn’t be here, I know that. Getting plowed at 70 (mph) and broadsided, I mean, no way,” he said.

Even though Kanz is not responsible for Jennings’ death, he said he had a feeling of guilt.

“I don’t like to see people suffer or hurt, and I felt like I was a part, even though I know I wasn’t,” he said.

Kanz has had four surgeries to repair numerous broken bones and is now using his experience to warn others.

Michael Kanz

“Be careful,” Kanz said. “Even if you are doing something wrong, have enough sense to be careful.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses.

An investigation revealed that the driver, Calata, has a history of driving while intoxicated. Just prior to the crash, a Utah Department of Natural Resources officer spotted Calata parked on the side of the road near 5800 West and 2100 South, according to a search warrant released Monday in 3rd District Court. The officer stopped to find out what Calata and Jennings were doing.

“The DNR officer stated he saw drug paraphernalia in the form of a white glass pipe in the vehicle at that time. The DNR officer asked for Calata’s ID and asked him about the pipe at that time. Calata stated he did not have ID and started to hand the pipe to the DNR officer. Calata put the Grand Cherokee in drive and drove away at a high rate of speed,” the warrant states. The Jeep was determined to be stolen, the warrant states.

No charges have been filed in the case.

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