CRIME

Man arrested for killing 61-year-old in SLC hit-and-run crash

Jul 7, 2023, 6:10 AM | Updated: 6:45 am

(Salt Lake City Police Department)...

(Salt Lake City Police Department)

(Salt Lake City Police Department)

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — The man accused of using his car to hit and kill another man in Salt Lake City Monday has been arrested.

Robert Johnson Boyatt, 53, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Friday for investigation of murder, failure to remain at an accident involving death, driving on a denied license and obstruction of justice.

According to arresting documents, Boyatt was taken into custody Thursday night after he was located at a campsite in Tooele County.

“Due to Boyatt’s past criminal record, the likelihood that he would run from police if confronted, and the fact that he was known to possibly have access to weapons and ammunition, the SLCPD deployed multiple resources to the scene, including a drone, police tracking K9 teams, and a tactical rescue vehicle,” read a Friday press release from the Salt Lake City Police Department.

After he was read his Miranda rights, police said Boyatt admitted to hitting Victor Hershberger with his car on Monday. He also admitted to not stopping at the scene of the crash, abandoning his car in order to avoid being caught and driving without a valid drivers license.

The deadly crash happened at approximately 1:15 a.m. Monday in the area of 1020 N. Topaz Drive.

Man killed in possibly targeted hit-and-run crash

According to the Salt Lake City Police Department, Victor Hershberger, 61, was riding a scooter when he was hit.

“Witnesses observed a red passenger car drive past (Hershberger) westbound on 1000 North and then make an immediate U-turn, back eastbound. The vehicle then swerved over into the westbound lanes and, according to witnesses, intentionally ran (Hershberger) over from behind, made no attempt to stop and fled the scene,” read part of the probable cause statement.

Hershberger died from his injuries on scene.

A day later, on July 4, police said Boyatt’s car — which had damage consistent with the deadly hit-and-run crash — was found abandoned behind an address in Salt Lake City.

During the investigation, authorities discovered Boyatt knew Hershberger.

“According to a witness, Boyatt was looking for (Hershberger) and ‘has been on a vengeance spree’ against (Hershberger),” arresting documents stated.

Video surveillance, according to the probable cause statement, showed Boyatt driving his car at the Salt Lake City Inn just minutes after Hershberger left there on his scooter. Minutes later, Boyatt was seen circling the parking lot “as though he is looking for someone,” and then leaving the area, heading westbound on 1000 North. It was moments later that Hershberger was hit.

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Man arrested for killing 61-year-old in SLC hit-and-run crash