SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The latest data from the Utah Highway Safety Office and Department of Public Safety shows hit-and-run crashes in the state are on the rise.
Since 2017, there have been more than 700 crashes involving pedestrians, bicycles and skateboarders; with almost 200 in 2021.
The most alarming part of this data is last year, eight people died in hit-and-run crashes in Utah.
Eli Mitchell’s is the first one this year, but most likely won’t be the last.
A memorial is growing for him now.
ABC4 spoke with Jacob Finch Wednesday afternoon about his 13-year-old son who was hit by a car and killed last Halloween.
It wasn’t by a hit-and-run but he said he knows the pain the Mitchells are going through.
“We have been following it since we woke up this morning,” said Jacob Finch.
On Wednesday morning the Finch family heard the news that brought back heartbreak.
“It did a little bit,” said Finch. “It kind of brought back a lot of the memories from that night.”
That night was Oct. 31, 2021, when 13-year-old Karl Finch was hit and killed by a car while crossing a crosswalk in Taylorsville.
It was one of Jacob Finch’s four kids; Karl was the oldest.
“Be ready for a long and bumpy road that is all I can say,” said Finch.
Finch has some advice for the Mitchell whose 13-year-old son, Eli Mitchell, was a victim of a hit-and-run Tuesday night in West Jordan.
“There is a lot of ups and a lot of downs,” said Finch. “There is a lot of feelings; there is a lot of sorrow and heartache. The biggest thing I can say is cling to each other and feed off each other and help each other.”
The Utah Highway Safety Office said eight people died from hit-and-run crashes last year.
So far this year there’s been one; Eli Mitchell.
Finch said the data is alarming but people need to know what’s going on.
“Honestly, it just comes down to people just need to be more aware of their surroundings,” said Finch. “They need to put their cell phones down when they are in their cars and they need to pay attention to what is going on around them is really what it comes down to and then take responsibility for your actions.