Warrant: Suspect in officer’s death investigated in death of passenger earlier this year

Local News
FELIX CALATA MUG_1543195328249.jpg.jpg

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The now-deceased suspect who was involved in a South Salt Lake officer’s death Saturday was also investigated for another vehicle death earlier this year, court records show. 

Police shot and killed convicted felon Felix Calata Saturday as they responded to a burglary in progress at 3575 South West Temple just after 5:30 p.m. Police said the shots were fired after Calata and the other suspect he was with charged at officers with their vehicle, striking Officer David Romrell, 31. Romrell died a short time later from his injuries. 

Court documents obtained by ABC4 News show this is not the first time Calata has been involved in a deadly vehicle incident. 

According to an affidavit, on March 25 an officer from the Utah Department of Natural Resources found Calata “parked on the side of the road and picking up tires.” When the officer asked him what he was doing, the officer noticed drug paraphernalia in Calata’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. After the officer asked about a pipe, Calata said he didn’t have ID and started to hand the pipe to the DNR officer. He then fled the scene, the affidavit said. 

After fleeing, Calata collided with a northbound passenger car that ran the red light at the intersection of California Avenue and Bangerter Highway. Calata was ejected as the vehicle rolled. An unidentified female was ejected out of Calata’s vehicle and was found on scene without a pulse. Calata was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. According to a search warrant, blood belonging to Felix Calata showed that he was under the influence at the time he fled the traffic stop. 

The driver in the passenger car Calata hit was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries. 

The affidavit also indicated that Calata’s Jeep was stolen. 

Records do not show whether Calata was ever charged in the woman’s death, though the officer who wrote the affidavit indicated there was probable cause against Calata for Felony DUI and automobile homicide. 

It was unclear Sunday what the status of that investigation is. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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