LOCAL NEWS

Utah family shares message on anniversary of deadly road rage crash

Jun 4, 2024, 10:20 PM | Updated: 10:37 pm

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — The family of a Utah man killed while on a Sunday drive with his girlfriend a year ago in Eagle Mountain, is sharing a message for all drivers —  especially in light of two recent road rage-related deaths.

Tuesday was already a hard day for the Salm family. Peter Salm and his wife drove out on Cory B. Wride Memorial Highway, up to a spot not far from the Eagle Mountain turnoff.

Drivers passing by may only catch a glimpse of the flowers, photos, and a flag hanging on a fence.

The photos show Rodney Salm and his girlfriend, Michaela Himmleberger, who went by Mischa. The flag is a Porsche flag, representing the car club Rodney Salm was part of, and proud of.

“It was his passion. He loved what he was doing,” Peter Salm said, of his brother. “They were just a group of about 30 of them got together and decided, ‘Hey, let’s take a ride.’ ”

Victims killed in Utah County road rage-caused collision identified

Rodney Salm and Himmleberger’s Sunday ride on a beautiful day would be the last living memory of them. Peter Salm remembers that day a year ago so vividly. He and his wife happened to be on their own ride in the same area and saw the road closed for a crash.

They instead headed south by Utah Lake. Not even a half hour later, Peter Salm’s father called him.

“My dad called me in tears and said, ‘Rodney has been killed,’ you know, and I tried to ask him, ‘Well, where did it happen?'” Peter Salm said. He realized it was the crash he had just bypassed.

“It was hard.”

The family would find out Rodney Salm and Himmleberger were victims of a road rage situation that unfolded on the other side of the highway and that they had nothing to do with it.

Investigators would tell them that the road rage between two other drivers would end with a truck hitting the couple head-on, crushing Rodney Salm’s tiny Porsche. Police said they believe they died instantly.

Shooter questioned and released after Clearfield road rage shooting left another man dead

 

The driver of that truck, Peterson Drew Matheson, was arrested and charged on several charges, including manslaughter. He has since pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial this fall.

One heated moment was all it took to turn Peter Salm’s world—and so many others’—upside down.

“The worst part that eats at you is that it’s such a senseless thing … It could have been avoided. It didn’t need to happen.”

On the one-year anniversary of Rodney Salm and Himmleberger’s crash, the hard day was made even more grim when Peter Salm heard about two other road rage-related deaths.

A fight that began on the road ended with a man dead in a shooting in Clearfield.

A Lehi father died after a fistfight following road rage.

“I really grieve for them, and my heart goes out to them,” Peter Salm said, of all the families involved. “They’ve got a long haul ahead of them.”

There are families in these other cars; Man knocked unconscious in Lehi road rage fight dies

Peter Salm said they used GoFundMe money raised in honor of his brother to fund a Zero Fatalities campaign against road rage and said he also helped with a new road rage law that takes effect in July.

Above all, Salm is pleading with drivers not to let a few seconds of upset turn into a lifetime of regret.

If only drivers would have just calmed down a year ago, he knows things would be different for Rodney Salm and Himmleberger.

“You can cool down just as fast as you heat up,” Peter Salm said. “If somebody makes you mad, you can be frustrated. You can say a curse word or two — but then just go back to driving. Let it go.”


BACK TO BASICS: Remembering and following the basics of safe driving can prevent crashes and fatalities on the road. Some of the basics include: always wearing a seat belt, obeying road signs and traffic signals, keeping a safe distance from vehicles, maintaining a reasonable speed and avoiding texting or eating while driving so you can be aware of your surroundings. Click to read more.

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Utah family shares message on anniversary of deadly road rage crash