Pleasant Grove woman faces vehicular homicide charges after collision near Orem

Traffic comes to a standstill after a fatal crash on I-15 near Orem early Sunday morning. Photo: UDOT

OREM, Utah, Oct. 31, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A 22-year-old Pleasant Grove woman has been charged with two counts of felony automobile homicide after a Sunday morning collision that left one victim dead and a second fighting for life.

Suspect Kesley Pope is facing charges of:

  • Two counts of vehicular homicide — causing death with alcohol content of greater than 0.05, a third-degree felony (only one victim has died at this point)
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, a class B misdemeanor

Utah Highway Patrol troopers responded to a crash southbound on the 800 North offramp in Orem about 12:05 a.m.

According to a probable cause statement filed in the case, “The passenger of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver was transported to Utah Valley Hospital with serious and possibly fatal injuries. A white pickup truck had rear ended a small gray sedan and they were in the third lane from the right.”

(A Utah Highway Patrol statement says the victims, who were in a Kia passenger car, were struck while stopped in an emergency lane.)

“The driver of the pickup truck was identified as Kesley Pope,” the suspect’s probable cause statement continues. “While speaking with her in an open air environment I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her breath.”

Post Miranda, Pope requested an attorney, the statement says, and questioning stopped.

“During the inventory of the vehicle Trooper Cornwall found a glass pipe with burned residue and green leafy substance suspected to be marijuana. Trooper Blair began to draft a search warrant for Pope’s blood.”

The officer then noted a witness statement that said Pope had agreed to take a a sobriety test. She confirmed to the trooper that she would, and her parents drover her to the Utah Highway Patrol office. Pope was found to be under the influence of alcohol, and deemed unable to drive a vehicle safely.

“Pope made multiple excited utterances that she thought she was OK to drive, that she had a few drinks with her friends and that she accepts full responsibility for what happened.”

Pope’s breathalyzer reading came back at 0.10, twice the legal limit to be declared intoxicated. A blood sample was also collected for crime lab analysis.

“Pope was transported to Timpanogos Hospital for clearance, and then to the Utah county Jail where she was booked.”

A court document indicates Pope was released on her own recognizance.

The approximate location of the fatal collision near I-15 exit 272 on Oct. 31, 2021 is marked in red. Image: Google Maps

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