DUI driver fatally hits motorcyclist stopped at red light, Sandy police say

Oct 8, 2023, 4:54 PM

The motorcycle on the road after the fatal hit and run....

The motorcycle on the road after the fatal hit and run.

SANDY — A man with a history of DUIs is in police custody after allegedly killing a motorcyclist who was stopped at a red light early Sunday morning.

Joseph Christian Ornelas, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on felony charges of negligently operating a vehicle resulting in death and failing to remain at an accident involving death and misdemeanor charges of driving on a suspended license for qualifying circumstance, being an interlocked restricted driver operating a vehicle without an interlock system, and an alcohol restricted driver, according to the police affidavit.

At approximately 1 a.m., Sandy police were called to a fatal hit-and-run accident on 7591 South Union Park Ave involving an SUV and a motorcyclist.

According to the affidavit, Ornelas, who was driving the SUV, fled the scene without providing information or attempting first aid to the motorcyclist.

Ornelas parked his car in a nearby neighborhood and walked over to a Del Taco at 8580 South 1300 East, where he called police.

According to the affidavit, when police arrived, officers asked Ornelas how much he had to drink for the night. Ornelas told officers he had two shots of rum and had a suspended driver’s license.

Officers asked for Ornelas to complete a standardized field sobriety testing, in which the suspect showed signs of impairment.

According to the affidavit, Ornelas is on parole, awaiting trial for a previous felony charge, and has an active warrant for a DUI charge. The suspect is alcohol restricted and is required to have an ignition interlock on vehicles he operates.

Ornelas told police he was driving a friend’s car.

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DUI driver fatally hits motorcyclist stopped at red light, Sandy police say