EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah, June 7, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — One of two drivers the Utah County Sheriff’s Office says was part of a road-rage incident that killed two people in a Porsche on Sunday has been booked into jail and charged with manslaughter.
Peterson Drew Matheson, 30, was the driver of an eastbound white 2016 Ford F-150 pickup. He and the male driver of a 2014 Nissan Maxima were reportedly engaged in road rage behavior with each other.
According to charging documents, Matheson entered the shoulder emergency lane of State Route 73, which otherwise has one lane each for eastbound and westbound traffic. Utah County Sheriff officials say the pickup rammed the Nissan from the side. The Nissan slowed down.
The pickup lost control and entered the oncoming traffic lane, hitting the 1987 Porsche 911. The collision killed the Porsche’s driver, Rodney Michael Salm, 48, of Salt Lake City, and passenger, Michaela Himmleberger, age 47, of Holladay.
Both Matheson and the driver of the Nissan were taken to area hospitals for treatment.
Matheson, an Eagle Mountain resident, was charged Wednesday on suspicion of:
- Two counts of manslaughter, a second-degree felony
- Reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor
“There was also an uninvolved vehicle in front of the Maxima as they traveled east on Hwy 73,” Matheson’s charging documents say. “The driver of the uninvolved vehicle estimated the initial speed at 65 to 70 miles per hour. He also reported that both he and his wife were concerned because of how close both the Maxima and the Ford were to their vehicle.”
“The two passengers in the Porsche were pronounced deceased on the scene by the deputies who arrived first. Deputies found paint transfer and a large amount of black tire marks on the passenger side of the Maxima and driver side of the Ford, consistent with the Maxima driver’s statement.
“A westbound passing motorist who was in front of the Porsche recorded the Ford passing the Maxima on the right shoulder with a dash camera. The video was supplied to deputies.”
Charging documents included a conclusion:
“Matheson operated his vehicle in a willful disregard for the safety of others. Matheson’s maneuver to pass the Nissan Maxima on the shoulder and then collide with Nissan Maxima created a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a vehicle collision would occur as were the speeds he was traveling outside of the travel lane and beyond the fog line.
“The speed limit on that section of road is 65mph. A collision at that speed is likely to cause serious injury or death. A reasonable person would not attempt to pass a vehicle on the shoulder, especially at the distance, speeds, and in the aggressive manner reported by witnesses.”
According to his affidavit, family members transported Matheson to the Utah County Jail on Wednesday after the suspect had been alerted deputies planned to arrest him. He was initially ordered to be held without bail.
A spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office says it is not yet known if the Nissan driver will face charges.