Father ‘infuriated’ by DA office’s decision in deadly crosswalk auto-pedestrian collision
May 11, 2022, 9:25 AM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 2:24 pm
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A father said Tuesday it was “infuriating” to learn of the Salt Lake County District Attorney Office’s decision to not pursue felony or serious misdemeanor charges against a driver in an auto-pedestrian crash that left one boy dead and another with lasting injuries.
On October 30, 2021, 13-year-old Karl Finch and his friend, then-12-year-old Spencer Wall, were crossing 2700 West in a crosswalk at Matterhorn Drive (6380 South) when they were hit.
Taylorsville police passed their case to prosecutors at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, but the office declined to pursue felony or serious charges against the 29-year-old driver.
Instead, Taylorsville City prosecutors filed multiple class B misdemeanor charges against the man on April 25, including driving with a measurable controlled substance in the body, driving on a revoked or suspended license and possession or use of a controlled substance. He also was handed three infractions of failure to yield to pedestrians when a traffic signal is not operating.
The charging documents stated that the man was found to have 10 anabolic steroid pills in his pocket along with marijuana and was driving on a suspended license at the time of the collision. A blood test, according to the charges, found that he had amounts of Benzoylecgonine, THC and THC metabolite in his system.
“It all seems like it’s a no-brainer, right — it also seems like a no-brainer that his actions caused Karl’s death,” said Keven Wall, Spencer’s father. “When we found out a week ago, week-and-a-half ago that the county declined all charges and that the city was going to (do) what amounted to a slap on the wrists, it was pretty infuriating.”
A spokesman for the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office said due to the ongoing prosecution at the justice court level, he could not speak about the decision reached by the DA’s office.
“As much so as when we were in our room and got the call that our son had broken his arm and was hit by a car, it’s that big of a gut punch where you feel like you’re going through the thing all over again,” Wall said of the DA’s decision.
Wall said there should at least be more serious consequences in cases where someone is driving on a suspended license and causes a death.
“If that’s not worthy of spending some time in jail, then what is?” questioned Wall.
Wall said his son was still dealing with lingering effects including pain from the collision more than six months later, but was maintaining a positive attitude as he continued on his long road to recovery.
“The neurosurgeon afterward said that he hadn’t removed a blood clot that big off of somebody’s brain in his entire career,” Wall said.
Wall said he has also found himself advocating for safer roads. In a recent Facebook post he shared publicly, he advocated for better lighting along streets and flashing lights at crosswalks.
“Our lives really were forever changed that night,” Wall said. “We’d just love to see that never happen again.”