LOCAL NEWS

2 fatal crashes were not caused by police actions, district attorney concludes

Sep 30, 2022, 8:11 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 11:23 pm
Two separate fatal crashes that started with drivers trying to flee from police did not result from...
Two separate fatal crashes that started with drivers trying to flee from police did not result from the actions of police officers, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office concluded Friday. (Salt Lake City Police Department)
(Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office on Friday announced decisions regarding two fatal crashes that started with drivers allegedly trying to flee from police, including one in which an innocent bystander was killed.

But in each incident, after months of review, District Attorney Sim Gill determined that neither case rose to the level of an “officer-involved critical incident” and thus he did not make a decision about whether the actions of the officers involved were legally justified. Gill declined to file any criminal charges.

On Oct. 16, 2021, North Salt Lake police attempted to pull over a Ford F-250 driving erratically that was “running people off the road,” according to Gill’s final report. Witnesses told police they believed the driver, Christian Cody Facer, 40, also had a bottle of alcohol in the passenger seat.

Officers first spotted Facer on U.S. 89 near Center Street in North Salt Lake. He proceeded onto I-15 where he “continued to drive erratically, weaving between cars on the freeway and speeding at over 100 mph at times,” according to Gill’s report. He exited the freeway at 1000 North and 900 West in Salt Lake City, ran a red light at 1000 North and 1200 West, and then ran a stop sign at the intersection of 500 North and 1200 West, where he slammed into a car and killed Thy Hoang Vu, 33, also known as Thy Vu Mims, co-founder and owner of Mims Bakery.

An Officer Involved Critical Incident Team investigated the crash and presented its findings to Gill’s office nine months ago in December.

On Friday, Gill said that based on the “available evidence,” he does not believe the case falls into the definition of an officer-involved critical incident. His office determined that Mims’ death did not result from the actions of the two North Salt Lake officers pursuing Facer that day, and he declined to file any charges against the officers.

In February, the officer who was following Facer when the crash occurred was also cleared by North Salt Lake police as part of an internal investigation.

Facer, who was originally charged with manslaughter but later had his charges amended to murder, has a history of driving drunk and police say in this case his blood-alcohol level was seven times the legal limit. In August, he was ordered to stand trial for murder. His next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Gill’s other ruling on Friday involved a fatal crash from March. But like the Facer case, Gill announced Friday that he does not believe the incident rose to the level of an officer-involved critical incident.

On March 16, a Taylorsville officer spotted a stolen Chrysler 200 near 4200 S. Redwood Road. When the officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver fled. Officers in the area kept surveillance on the vehicle but did not engage in a chase. Near 4100 South and 1300 West, a Taylorsville officer spiked some of the vehicle’s tires, and then a short time later, a second set of spikes was deployed.

The car continued to drive at a slower speed, however, through residential areas. Police still did not chase the vehicle on the ground, but rather let a Department of Public Safety helicopter follow it from the air, according to Gill’s report.

About 12:10 a.m. on March 17, as the vehicle headed north on Atherton Drive (4370 South), the driver, Jeremy Arthur Lettow, 40, of Salt Lake City, failed to negotiate a turn near 1200 West and crashed into a pole. Lettow and a passenger were taken to a local hospital with what appeared to be leg injuries, according to police. Several hours later, however, officers were notified that Lettow had died from his injuries.

As in the previous case, Gill determined Friday that Lettow’s fatal injuries did not result from the conduct of the officers. Furthermore, although he was taken to a local hospital, he was not in police custody at the time of his death, according to Gill’s ruling. Lettow not only chose not to pull over, the report concluded, “he chose to operate the vehicle in an extremely reckless and life-threatening manner.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Infographic showing snow storm coverage across the state....
Brooke Williams

High winds, heavy snow warning for ‘hazardous conditions’ Friday morning

A heavy snow storm is expected to move in overnight, bringing several inches Friday morning.
17 hours ago
...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Lehi mom stranded in snowstorm grateful for help from unexpected stranger

Two Utah County women are sharing how a desperate situation during Monday's snowstorm turned into a heartwarming story they'll never forget.
17 hours ago
Some residents of an Orem student apartment complex ran for their lives after shots were fired on t...
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Man accused of shooting at Orem apartment complex surrenders

A Utah man accused of shooting people at an Orem apartment complex in a confrontation caught on video has surrendered to police.
17 hours ago
(Karah Brackin/KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin

U of U working to get victims help after two cameras found in Student Life Center

The University of Utah and its department of public safety said Thursday they are focusing on victims and getting them the help they need to move forward after two cameras were found in the Student Life Center.
17 hours ago
Apartments and townhouses on Traverse Mountain Boulevard in Lehi are pictured on Wednesday, Aug. 11...
Carter Williams, KSL.com

Utah experiences largest population spike in 16 years. Here’s where people are moving

Utah's population skyrocketed by a little more than 61,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022, marking the state's largest spike in absolute growth in 16 years, according to a new population estimate report released Thursday.
17 hours ago
(FILE) Salt Lake City Police car responding to a scene....
Madison Swenson

Police: Man arrested for burglarizing two SLC businesses

A 44-year-old man has been arrested after police say he burglarized two businesses in downtown Salt Lake City, including an office space belonging to the Utah Attorney General's Office.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
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: Take this quiz 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.
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.
2 fatal crashes were not caused by police actions, district attorney concludes