Man suspected of driving vehicle that killed 5-year-old, injured mother, facing auto homicide charge, DUI

Carl Wayne Johnson. Photo: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 16, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A man suspected of driving into a 5-year-old boy, who died at the scene, and seriously injuring the boy’s mother, has been arrested and booked into Salt Lake County Jail.

The fatal auto-pedestrian crash happened Saturday morning near 900 West and California Avenue, when the pair were struck by a GMC Jimmy SUV.

First responders attempted to save the child, but were unable to revive him. The child’s mother was taken to a nearby hospital with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Carl Wayne Johnson, 56, is accused of driving the vehicle that struck the two pedestrians who were crossing the street in a crosswalk, according to a probable cause statement filed in 3rd District Court by an officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

The document states that Johnson’s vehicle struck the pedestrians, causing the death of one and serious bodily injury to the other.

“I could smell a strong odor of alcohol from A/P’s (arrested person’s) breath,” the officer wrote, adding that field sobriety tests revealed clues indicating impairment.

Johnson reportedly told the officer that he “drank 2 beers this morning.”

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Johnson was operating a vehicle that had license plates that were not registered to it, the document states, and a police query showed the vehicle to be uninsured.

“A/P stated he does not have insurance for the vehicle,” the officer wrote in the document.

Johnson’s blood was drawn, and officials were still awaiting the results at the time he was booked into jail.

Johnson was booked on suspicion of:

  • Automobile homicide, a second-degree felony
  • DUI with serious bodily injury by negligent operation, a third-degree felony,
  • Operating a vehicle without insurance, a class C misdemeanor
  • Improper registration/plate, a class C misdemeanor
  • Failure to yield to pedestrian’s right of way

According to the statement, Johnson has a prior DUI conviction.

Salt Lake City Police Lt. Brett Olsen earlier said it appeared the child was riding or pushing a small bicycle with training wheels at the time of the incident.

Streets in the area — close to the Sorenson Multicultural Center — remained closed into the early afternoon.

Gephardt Daily will provide an update on this story as more information is made available.

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