Utah man arrested for crashing car, sparking grass fire after allegedly inhaling compressed air

Aug 9, 2022, 10:11 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm

CENTERVILLE, Utah — A 46-year-old man was arrested after police say he swerved and nearly hit two people after driving up onto the sidewalk in Centerville, eventually coming to a stop on the mountainside and sparking a grass fire.

The incident happened in the area of 309 E. 1825 North just before 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.

According to a press release from the Centerville Police Department, an Acura — which 46-year-old Benjamin Young Wight of Centerville was driving — was traveling eastbound on 1825 North when it swerved to the left, crossed the westbound lanes of travel, and drove up onto the sidewalk, “narrowly missing two homeowners.” The vehicle did, however, plow through the groceries the homeowners were unloading from their car.

Police said the Acura continued through a mailbox, then sideswiped a parked truck. The car then swerved to the right, crossed the roadway, and crashed through an electrical box, coming to rest on the mountainside in the brush.

“Wight attempted to leave but was unsuccessful because the Acura was stuck,” the release stated.

A brush fire sparked due to the hot engine from the car, but authorities say neighbors and police officers were able to quickly extinguish the flames before they could spread up the mountain.

“Wight admitted to officers that he stole compressed air from Walmart and inhaled it just prior to the crash,” the release stated.

Wight was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, abuse of psychotoxic chemicals, reckless driving, and attempting to leave the scene of an accident.

Police said no one was injured during the incident, but an investigation into Wight’s swerving towards the homeowners — which the homeowners believe was intentional — is ongoing.

“This incident occurred right in front of the burnt-out remains of the home at 329 E, that was intentionally set on fire on July 21, 2022, by Ammon Woodhead in an attempt to kill the occupants. The two incidents are completely unrelated,” the release concluded.

(Jay Hancock/KSL TV)

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Utah man arrested for crashing car, sparking grass fire after allegedly inhaling compressed air