WASHINGTON CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A judge from 5th District Court in St. George recently granted investigators a search warrant to obtain additional information into how exactly the fatal In-N-Out crash in December may have occurred.
Washington City Police say an elderly man, a resident of St. George, was driving with his wife when he hit a pedestrian in the parking lot, and then accelerated, slamming into the side of the building. In total, seven people were hospitalized, including the driver and his wife. Officers said the driver showed no signs of impairment, but witnesses told them he seemed angry or frustrated as he drove by.
“After further investigation, it appears that it was more of a panic or shock moment, not really knowing what to do, possibly accelerating or the vehicle did somehow,” said Washington City Police Lt. Kory Klotz.
Antonio “Toño” Mendoza, a Las Vegas man who was sitting inside the restaurant, died from his injuries the day after the crash. ABC4 News spoke exclusively with the victim’s family following the incident.
Newly released court documents show that on January 15th a judge granted Washington City investigators a search warrant to obtain the crash data recorder from inside the driver’s SUV, which constantly monitors vehicle operating conditions such as engine speed, vehicle speed, percent throttle, and braking.
Police said the driver told them he doesn’t remember pressing the accelerators — he only recalls not being able to slow down and “holding on for the ride,” according to court documents.
The day after the crash, officers said they impounded the vehicle, sealing the doors, windows and the hood with crime scene tape and signing the tape to prevent any evidence tampering. The driver has also agreed to allow the Utah Highway Patrol to complete a safety inspection of the vehicle, according to officials.
Lt. Klotz said it will take a month or two to receive any results from the crash data recorder and determine if there’s enough evidence to pursue criminal charges. Currently, the crash is being investigated as negligent homicide.
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