Benefit dinner, auction scheduled in Moab to help family of father, son killed by reckless driver

Image: Moab City PD/Facebook

MOAB, Utah, Feb. 14, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A benefit dinner and silent auction are being planned to help the family of Vilsar Camey and Israel Camey, who were killed by a reckless driver this week.

“We have been contacted by so many people who want to know what they can do to help the Camey family. In true Moab form, the community is pulling together again to help one of our own,” the Moab City Police Department said in a Facebook post.

The dinner is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, at Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East.

The cost is $10 per person or $50 for a family of six.

All of the proceeds will be donated to Monica Camey.

“We’re so proud of this community. Our citizens and business owners have such huge hearts, and this is yet another example of the compassion you all have for one another. It is an honor to serve you,” Moab City PD said on Facebook.

For more information about the dinner and auction, click here.

The fatal crash occurred Sunday night, as law officers attempted to locate a reckless driver heading north on U.S. Highway 191 in the Moab area, according to a probable cause statement filed in 7th District Court of Grand County.

The suspect vehicle was described as a white truck, later identified as a 2020 Chevy Silverado 3500, driven by Benjamin Thomas Balls.

A Utah Highway Patrol trooper observed the truck speeding and attempted to make a traffic stop. When the truck did not stop, a pursuit ensued, with the trooper reporting that he was following the truck at 102 mph and the truck was still pulling away from him, the probable cause statement said.

The trooper terminated the pursuit when the truck ran a red light and entered Moab City limits.

Two Grand County Sheriff’s deputies then began to follow the suspect truck in traffic from a distance as it sped at about 80 mph through a 30 mph zone.

The suspect vehicle collided with a Chevy Tahoe in the intersection of U.S. Highway 191 and Main Street, crashed into a maroon GMC Envoy, and then crashed into the building at 7 N. Main St.

Vilsar Camey, 45, of Moab, died at the scene. His son, Israel Camey, 10, was transported to the hospital in extremely critical condition and died Tuesday night.

The driver of the GMC Envoy, Katherine Sawyer, 30, was transported by ambulance to an area hospital. Sawyer was pregnant and delivered her baby prematurely. She and her baby are both doing well, according to Moab police.

Three different witnesses saw the incident and estimated the speed of the suspect vehicle as over 70 miles per hour. Two of these witnesses, who were driving in the area, said they had to slam on their brakes to avoid being hit as they were entering the intersection, the statement said.

Officials found a citation issued Sunday morning at approximately 7 a.m. for the suspect in New Mexico, for speeding, no proof of insurance and not wearing a seat belt.

Benjamin Thomas Balls, 41, of Hyde Park, the driver of the truck is facing charges of:

  • Manslaughter, a second-degree felony
  • Failure to respond to officer’s signal to stop, a second-degree felony
  • Criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor
  • Reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor
  • Providing false security information, a class B misdemeanor
  • Two counts of failure to obey traffic control devices, an infraction
  • Unsafe lane travel, an infraction
  • Failure to operate within a single lane, an infraction

Balls was transported to Grand County Jail, where he is being held without bail.


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