WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A Utah man is facing several charges after allegedly smoking methamphetamine, stealing a truck, fleeing an accident, crashing into several vehicles, and killing a pedestrian on New Year’s Eve, according to West Valley City Police.
Jaden Eckes, 22, is facing charges of negligently operating a vehicle resulting in death (second-degree felony), negligently operating a vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury (third-degree felony), failure to remain at accident involving death (third-degree felony), theft of a firearm or operable vehicle (second-degree felony), possession of a controlled substance (class-A misdemeanor), among other charges.
On Saturday, Dec. 31, around 8:30 p.m., West Valley City Police officers were notified of a hit-and-run crash in the area of 3100 South Redwood Rd.
A grey Dodge pickup truck was reported to be fleeing south of Redwood Rd., and as officers were coming into the area, another call was received of the same truck description running a red light and hitting two pedestrians as well as “several other vehicles,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
Nearby officers reportedly then saw the driver of the Dodge get out of the truck and run from the scene. Those officers briefly chased the suspect and took him into custody.
Police say one pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was taken to the hospital with injuries. A driver of one of the vehicles Eckes crashed into was also taken to the hospital in critical condition and is “not expected to survive,” police say.
Additionally, the driver of another vehicle that Eckes struck has a “possible broken wrist,” the affidavit states.
Police discovered through a records check that the grey Dodge truck was stolen out of Herriman, to which Eckes later admitted to detectives. Upon a search of Eckes, police also found methamphetamine, which Eckes admitted to using prior to the incident.
Eckes reportedly told police that his truck was struck from behind, and “fearing he was struck by an unmarked police vehicle attempting to pit him,” the affidavit states, Eckes went through the red light where he struck a pedestrian and another vehicle. Eckes told police that he did not remember anything after that.
When talking to detectives, Eckes reportedly stated he was still feeling the effects of the methamphetamine.
Eckes was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on the charges previously stated. The identity of the victims have not yet been released.
No further information is available at this time.