Driver charged with intentionally causing head-on crash on I-70

Jan 3, 2023, 7:44 PM | Updated: 8:49 pm
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GREEN RIVER, Utah — A Kansas man who police say caused a head-on collision on I-70 in an attempt to kill himself is now facing charges accusing him of trying to kill the occupants of the other vehicle.

About 6:20 p.m. Friday, Elijah James Schaller, 30, was involved in a head-on crash on I-70 near Green River.

“Mr. Schaller was intentionally operating his vehicle wrong way on the interstate in an attempt to kill himself in a head-on crash,” according to charging documents. “Mr. Schaller stated he was high on meth and marijuana while on scene of the crash.”

Schaller claims he drove the wrong way on the freeway at 80 mph for about 10 miles “trying to get the courage to hit another vehicle head-on,” the charges state. His Mitsubishi Lancer eventually collided with a Jeep Wrangler.

The 31-year-old woman driving the vehicle that he hit was seriously injured while the 28-year-old passenger was not injured, the charges say. No one’s injuries were life-threatening, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

Police say Schaller also resisted arrest at the crash scene and was taken into custody with the help of a bystander. But when he was transported to a local hospital to be treated for injuries, he tried to escape again by running out of his hospital room, the charges state. Schaller was tackled in the hallway by a UHP trooper and then allegedly punched the trooper in the nose.

After being released from the hospital he was booked into the Emery County Jail. Prosecutors say he has a Kansas driver’s license.

Schaller was charged Tuesday in 7th District Court with two counts of attempted murder, a second-degree felony; escape, a third-degree felony; assaulting a peace officer and DUI, class B misdemeanors; reckless driving, interfering with an officer, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, class B misdemeanors; and crossing over a divided highway, an infraction.

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Driver charged with intentionally causing head-on crash on I-70