MOAB, Utah, Feb. 10, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A suspect is facing a felony manslaughter charge after a crash in Moab Sunday evening that left one man dead, a juvenile in critical condition and a pregnant woman with injuries.
Moab police have identified the deceased driver as Vilsar Camey, 45, of Moab.
A probable cause statement from the 7th District Court of Grand County said Benjamin Thomas Balls, 41, of Hyde Park, 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
On Sunday at approximately 8:03 p.m., a reckless driver Attempt to Locate (ATL) was dispatched, alerting law enforcement units of a reckless driver heading northbound on U.S. Highway 191 from approximately mile marker 121 in the Moab area, the statement said. 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 officer located the vehicle at approximately mile marker 124 and attempted to make a traffic stop due to the vehicle’s speed being approximately 78 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, the statement said. The officer then told other officers that the vehicle ran a red light and was entering the Moab City limits so he was terminating his stop as not to pursue through town.
“A witness said he saw the suspect vehicle speed through the intersection at 400 East and Main Street with the trooper following,” the statement said. “He said the suspect vehicle narrowly missed a vehicle turning onto the highway. The UHP officer said he was following at approximately 102 miles per hour when he terminated and the vehicle was still pulling away from him.”
Two other officers then began to follow the suspect vehicle and turned on their overhead lights to alert traffic. After the suspect vehicle passed, one of the officers deactivated his lights and pulled into traffic to follow the vehicle.
These officers also estimated the vehicle’s speed as approximately 80 miles per hour and the vehicle had moved into a 35 mile per hour and then 30 mile per hour zone.
The suspect vehicle collided with a Chevy Tahoe in the intersection of U.S. Highway 191 and Main Street, the statement said, then crashed into maroon GMC Envoy.
The suspect vehicle crashed into the building at 7 N. Main St., and Balls crawled from the driver’s seat and was found under the vehicle. The suspect was transported to an area hospital.
The driver of the Chevy Tahoe was deceased and an officer began working with EMS to get the juvenile passenger out of the vehicle. The juvenile passenger, identified as Israel Camey, 10, has critical life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the GMC Envoy, Katherine Sawyer, 30, who is pregnant, was transported by ambulance to an area hospital. Her condition is not known.
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.
Balls was transported to Grand County Jail, where he is being held without bail.