WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A suspect was arrested in the West Valley City Hit and Run which left Joel Lewis, 39, dead, after the man allegedly confessed to fleeing the crash scene and surrendering, according to the West Valley City Police Department (WVCPD).
Jose Julian Marin Flores, 21, faces charges of disobeying an accident resulting in death (third degree felony), obstruction of justice (class A misdemeanor) and disregarding a pedestrian (violation).
According to the probable cause affidavit, “On or about November 14, 7:30 p.m.,” WVCPD officers responded to a fatal accident involving a pedestrian at 3245 South 7200 West in Salt Lake County.
The pedestrian, Joel Lewis, was hit on the road and was receiving lifesaving measures from medical personnel already at the scene. Officers later learned that Lewis had died as a result of the accident.
Witnesses reportedly said they saw a truck slow down for a moment before driving away.
On November 17, officers received a call from a concerned citizen who said that the night of the accident he received a phone call from his friend, Jose Flores, asking him to come and help tow the truck from the girlfriend of Flores from a residence in Salt. Lake County.
The individual says that when he arrived at the residence, Flores directed him to the back of the property where the truck was parked, and he observed damage to the front of the truck, which Flores says caused damage. were “caused by hitting a deer,” according to the affidavit.
The individual said he took a picture of the damage, which would have upset Flores, and Flores told him to stop taking pictures.
He then reportedly hauled the truck on its flatbed to a residence in Salt Lake City, just west of Ballpark Stadium.
The concerned citizen said “it wasn’t until he saw the next day’s news report of the fatal accident” that he realized something was wrong, according to the affidavit.
He reportedly said the truck he was towing was blue with a white driver’s side front fender and that the driver’s side mirror was damaged along with the windshield and headlight. He then identified the truck as a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado.
The affidavit says the individual then contacted Flores, who said “his girlfriend was driving the truck”, not him. Flores then allegedly said that his girlfriend dropped off the truck at the West Valley City residence and someone vandalized it even more.
The concerned citizen said he thought it sounded suspicious, so he called a mutual friend to see if he knew anything about the truck Flores had towed him, according to the affidavit.
His friend allegedly told him that Flores and his girlfriend were “trying to get to Mexico”.
On November 17, police reportedly received a call from Flores, who said he wanted to turn himself in for what he had done.
Flores reportedly said he was driving his girlfriend’s truck that night to “get something.” He reportedly said he “saw Lewis’s face on the windscreen” when the accident happened and “took off because he was scared”.
According to the affidavit, Flores said he was in Oregon, but planned to return to Utah to surrender.
“Our investigators have located and taken into custody the suspect in the fatal hit-and-run at 7200 West,” the WVCPD said in a statement. social media post. “We express our gratitude to the public for the guidance generated in this matter. It was a tip that identified Flores. We also salute the excellent work of our detectives who worked tirelessly to locate the suspect and facilitate his surrender.
The Salt Lake County Attorney’s Office filed charges in that case, and Flores was booked in the Salt Lake County Jail.