The driver of the truck, now identified as Santiago Hernandez, 22, was booked into Salt Lake County Jail after the crash. He faces a third-degree felony charge of negligently operating a vehicle resulting in serious injury.
The crash happened just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday night when Hernandez was driving northbound on Highland Drive near the I-215 overpass. Hernandez’s truck suddenly veered into oncoming traffic, striking two cars on the off-ramp, before coming to a stop on top of a red sedan. Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Gary Young said the woman driving the sedan was pinned beneath the truck in her car for over an hour and it took a “herculean effort” to rescue her.
Hernandez, who reportedly only suffered a minor laceration on his face, remained conscious and was cooperating with police. According to his statement, Hernandez had dropped a water bottle as he was driving. He said he bent down to pick up the bottle when his truck veered and caused the accident.
Police say Hernandez was driving at a speed of 65 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The posted speed limit on Highland Drive is 40.
The woman who was rescued was taken to a local hospital and was lasted reported to be in “extremely critical condition.”
During a search of Hernandez’s car, police say they found 14 pills which Hernandez allegedly confirmed to be fentanyl along with drug paraphernalia. Hernandez was also reportedly in possession of a handgun that was still in his truck at the time of his arrest.
In addition to the aforementioned charge, Hernandez also faces a third-degree felony charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, misdemeanor charges of drug and drug paraphernalia possession, and an infraction for not having a valid license.