WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, May 25, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A West Valley City resident was killed late Friday night after his vehicle stalled on Interstate 215 and was rear-ended by another car traveling at freeway speed.
Authorities have identified the victim as Luis E. Franco, 23.
According to Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Chad McCoy, a 911 call shortly before 11 p.m. reported a vehicle fire near 3000 South on the west side of northbound I-215.
The passenger car, a silver Suzuki Forenza, had stalled in the travel lane and was struck from behind by a silver Honda Accord. Police on scene indicated the Honda was probably going 70-80 miles an hour.
The stalled Suzuki caught fire, with Franco trapped inside, McCoy said.
The driver of the Honda escaped serious injury and was treated and released by medical personnel at the scene.
Investigators were trying to piece together the timeline of events, McCoy said, adding it is believed that Franco may have called his family when the car stalled, to tell them he needed help, but it wasn’t clear if anyone had contacted the dispatch center to report the stalled vehicle.
According to a UHP news release early Saturday, it’s possible the Forenza had an equipment malfunction, causing the driver to stop in the center lane.
“Preliminary investigation indicated a silver Honda Accord was changing lanes from right to left when it struck the disabled Suzuki. The Honda traveled off to the right side of the road and the Suzuki came to rest in the number one lane of I-215 West,” the news release says. “… the Suzuki ended up facing south and became fully engulfed in flames.”
Troopers and victim’s advocates are working Franco’s family and with the driver of the Accord.
At about 1:15 a.m., UHP said northbound I-215 West had been closed at 3500 South and remained closed.