SLC Police: Small Piece Of Car Left At Deadly Hit-And-Run Leads To Arrest

Jan 24, 2019, 10:44 PM | Updated: 10:45 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A piece of a car left at the scene of a deadly hit-and-run crash led detectives to the car and suspected driver in less than 24 hours, police said Thursday.

The collision happened Tuesday night, when investigators said Tot Nguyen, 72, crossed 400 South on his bicycle and was struck by an eastbound car near Goshen St.

Justin Washam said he witnessed the immediate aftermath of the crash.

“I heard a wreck — like a car clearly being impacted — and turned to just kind of see something flying through the air,” Washam recalled. “Then I realized it was a human and the car was just accelerating down the road.”

Washam said the white car with “severe front-end body damage” had left a significant clue at the scene.

“There was actually a big piece of the grill,” Washam said. “The Nissan logo had actually broken off and was just laying on the ground over there.”

Salt Lake police detective Robert Ungricht said investigators were able to determine from the car remnant that the suspect vehicle was a Nissan Versa, model year 2014 to 2018.

Detectives then used a state database to map out where the owners of those car models lived in relation to the collision.

“I know they did tell me they started right close to the scene of registered addresses close to the scene in Salt Lake City and just kind of worked their way out,” Ungricht said.

They ended up blocks from the crash scene at a house near 830 W. Arapahoe Ave.

Sotero Valerio,

Ungricht said they found the damaged car belonging to Sotero Valerio, 36, parked in an alley behind the home neighboring one connected to his name.

Valerio was not there, but Ungricht said he came back to talk to officers.

“He did confess to this hit-and-run and basically stated that the reason why he fled the scene was that he got scared after he did it and was worried about getting in trouble,” Ungricht said. “This is a terrible case. We’re grateful that by the hard work of our detectives we were able to bring some closure to this case for the family of this individual that passed away as a result of this horrible act.”

Valerio was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of felony failure to remain at an accident involving a death.

“I mean, he should have just stopped in the first place and probably would have been a lot easier on himself,” Washam said.

Washam said he was impressed by the detective work involved in the arrest.

“I’m just really happy to know that they actually caught him,” Washam said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Lori Vallow Daybell (Madison County)...
Cary Schwanitz

Lori Vallow Daybell trial suspended due to new concerns about her competency

An Idaho judge has ordered another delay in the murder trial for Lori Vallow after defense attorneys raised concerns about her competency.
2 days ago
The black male suspect who allegedly robbed an American Fork Credit Union on Aug. 30. (Federal Bure...
Michael Houck

Suspected serial Utah bank robber, wanted by FBI

Federal authorities are looking for a man who allegedly robbed two Utah banks within 30 days of each other. 
2 days ago
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the federal government's response to Hurricane Ian in the R...
Zeke Miller, AP White House Correspondent

Biden pardons thousands for ‘simple possession’ of marijuana

Biden pardons thousands with federal convictions for 'simple possession' of marijuana, calls for states to follow suit.
2 days ago
Salt Lake City police responding to a shooting at the Downtown West apartment complex. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Man charged with murder, woman shot in her SLC apartment

A 20-year-old man is facing felony charges after police found him with his dead girlfriend in late September. 
3 days ago
surveillance image of possible shooter...
Associated Press

Police say California serial killer ‘on a mission’ in slayings

A California serial killer seems to be "on a mission" throughout the fatal shooting of six men and the wounding of one woman dating back to last year.
3 days ago
Hundreds gathered across Utah Oct. 22, 2019, to remember victims and raise awareness of domestic vi...
Eliza Pace

New laws, resources available for those who lost loved ones to domestic violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month: a new program and new laws help families that have lost someone to domestic violence.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
SLC Police: Small Piece Of Car Left At Deadly Hit-And-Run Leads To Arrest