WASHINGTON CITY, Utah (ABC4) — A West Valley man was arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash in southern Utah on April 6.

Joe Emanuel Hernandez, 20, was arrested Thursday on charges of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, failure to remain at an accident involving death, a third-degree felony, making a false insurance claim, a third-degree felony, and driving on a denied license, a class C misdemeanor.

On April 6, shortly before 10 p.m., police responded to a report of a person lying in the middle of the road near 1086 W Red Cliffs Dr. “It was reported that the pedestrian was struck by a vehicle and there was serious trauma,” the press release stated.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers and first responders reportedly attempted to render medical aid to the individual. However, the victim “succumbed to his injuries” and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. “There was not an involved vehicle on the scene when officers arrived,” the release stated.

Washington City detectives were able to recover video surveillance from businesses located near the crash, which led them to the arrest of Hernandez. The police report stated the victim was crossing the road when he was struck by an SUV-type vehicle. Reportedly, the vehicle that struck him veered to the right and continued without stopping.

According to a witness, a red compact SUV proceeded through a red light approximately two blocks from the crash “at a high rate of speed.” The SUV reportedly continued traveling at a high rate of speed toward where the individual was struck and killed. The witness reviewed several vehicles on the internet, that it could have been, and among the possibilities, they pointed out a red Toyota Rav 4.

After the Washington County Critical crash task force conducted a crash investigation, they found several broken vehicle parts which they believed to be parts from the suspect vehicle. The vehicle parts were reportedly from a Toyota.

A few days after the crash, a caller stated that her friend and her friend’s boyfriend were reportedly in the St. George area and allegedly struck someone on the roadway. Her friend allegedly told the caller that her boyfriend drove away without stopping. The caller identified her friend and boyfriend to the police and provided an address in Draper where they were allegedly living.

Officers from Draper Police Dept. responded to the scene and found a vehicle belonging to Hernandez. It was confirmed that he was dating the friend of the caller. When officers researched Hernandez in the Washington County police database, they found that Hernandez was issued a citation for speed on April 5 while he was driving a 2015 red Toyota Rav 4.

Hernandez was also cited for driving on s suspended license, as he has been charged with multiple DUIs. The latest reported DUI was on April 30, 2021. When investigating Hernandez, officers with West Valley City reported that he is the suspect involving violent crimes, and is also awaiting trial on charges involving a hit-and-run accident in Salt Lake County Area.

When a detective with the Washington City Police Dept. contacted the insurance company for Hernandez’s Toyota Rav 4, the company said that Hernandez said he hit a deer and damaged the front of the vehicle. Officers were able to take photos of the vehicle and noted the driver’s side front panel and the bumper area had several dents visible.

A warrant for Hernandez’s arrest was issued on April 6. On Thursday, April 27, officers found Hernandez in Kearns, Utah. They arrested him and booked him into Salt Lake County Jail.