American Fork man charged in connection with Taylorsville crash that critically injured teen

Dec 14, 2022, 3:57 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2022, 6:53 am
Madalyn "Maddie" Anderson, 17, continues her long recovery after being hit by a suspected impaired ...
Madalyn "Maddie" Anderson, 17, continues her long recovery after being hit by a suspected impaired driver in Taylorsville. On Wednesday, the alleged driver was charged with multiple crimes. (Gofundme.com/Anderson family)
(Gofundme.com/Anderson family)

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A man who police say was using prescription drugs and had drug paraphernalia in his car when he crashed into another vehicle and critically injured a teen girl — even though he claimed he did not drink or do drugs — is now facing several charges.

John Charles Williams, 39, of American Fork, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with negligently operating a vehicle resulting in serious injury, a third-degree felony; negligently operating a vehicle resulting in injury, a class A misdemeanor; drug possession, a class A misdemeanor; possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; and, failing to yield the right of way, an infraction.

On Dec. 4, about 12:20 a.m., witnesses say Williams was traveling at a high rate of speed when he made “a quick left-hand turn, disregarding the flashing yellow left-hand turn signal” at 815 W. Taylorsville Expressway, and “T-boned” an oncoming vehicle, according to the charging documents. One witness heard Williams “floor the gas” as he made the turn, while three witnesses told police he “continued to rev his engine after the impact, as if he was trying to leave the scene.”

Unified Fire Authority crews had to extricate the driver of the vehicle hit, 17-year-old Madalyn “Maddie” Anderson. She “was not conscious, barely breathing and had a serious laceration on the left side of her head” when first responders got to her, the charges state. She was taken to a local hospital in critical condition with “a traumatic brain injury, a laceration to her scalp, a fractured vertebra, a carotid artery injury, a fractured left femur and multiple other traumatic injuries,” the charges state. Her brother, who was also in the car, suffered minor injuries.

When questioned by police, Williams said “he believed he could make the turn,” according to the charges, while adding that “he was not impaired, as he does not drink or consume illegal drugs.”

However, when police searched his car they found heroin, THC vape cartridges, prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia, including a syringe, the charges state.

“(Williams) tested positive for opioids and benzodiazepines after the crash. (His) behavior after the accident, asking witnesses if the (other vehicle) had left the scene when the vehicle was disabled and still in front of his vehicle with (the) driver trapped inside, proved that he was impaired and incapable of operating a vehicle safely,” according to charging documents.

Prosecutors have requested that Williams be held in the Salt Lake County Jail without bail, pending trial, noting that he has previous convictions for impaired driving, DUI and drug possession in Utah and Idaho, and believe “he is unwilling to drive sober and remain off narcotics,” court documents state.

According to a GoFundMe* fundraiser set up for Anderson, she has a “very extensive” road to recovery.

“But she is a fighter. We know she will pull through and be stronger than ever,” the webpage states.

Maddie is a student at Murray High School and was heavily involved in running, as well as the girls hockey team.

“We are extremely saddened by this tragedy but hopeful for a full recovery as we miss her great attitude, fun spirit and electric smile. We love you #22 and can’t wait to have you back with us!!!!!” a post from the Murray hockey team’s Facebook team stated.

A Facebook group titled Go Maddie #22 has also been set up to keep people updated on her progress as she recovers at a local hospital.

*KSL TV does not assure that money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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American Fork man charged in connection with Taylorsville crash that critically injured teen