AMERICAN FORK, Utah, Sept. 15, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Lehi man is facing multiple charges of attempted murder after police say he intentionally drove onto oncoming traffic, through a cemetery hosting a funeral, and onto occupied sidewalks.
Shane Andrew Johnson, 55, faces charges of five counts of attempted murder, a second-degree felony; and one count of failure to stop or respond at the command of police, a third-degree felony.
According to an affidavit filed by an officer of the American Fork Police Department, dispatch received multiple calls on Saturday about “a male driver (later identified as Shane Johnson) trying to intentionally hit other vehicles and intentionally driving into oncoming traffic.”
The vehicle was described as a gray Jeep Cherokee.
“Upon arrival to the area, officers located the vehicle and Johnson (who was driving.) The officers initiated their emergency lights and their sirens to stop the vehicle. The vehicle immediately began to evade police by driving away and a pursuit was initiated,” the statement says.
“During the pursuit, the driver continued to drive erratically by driving into oncoming traffic, over parking lot curbs, grassy areas belonging to businesses, through a city park, through a cemetery with an active funeral, and others.”
The Jeep also drove down a residential street, and left the roadway and appeared to aim at a man walking on the sidewalk, the statement says.
“The male pedestrian was forced to quickly move out of the way into the road to avoid being hit, which he did successfully. The pursuit was terminated due to safety concerns.”
The pursuit was subsequently reinitiated in American Fork by another agency.
“At one point, the vehicle entered Main Street in American Fork and continued to attempt to evade police as it approached some businesses along Main Street,” the charging document says.
“There were two employees outside of the business on the sidewalk and three customers also outside on the sidewalk who were browsing inventory in front of the store. One of these five individuals was 15 years old.”
Johnson aimed the Jeep at these people, the statement alleges, saying four people saw the vehicle and jumped out of the way.
“The fifth individual was luckily just out of the way of the vehicle and did not know what was happening until the vehicle passed her. The vehicle struck the tables and propelled one of the tables into one of the employees, partially pinning her against the store.
“These actions demonstrated a depraved indifference to human life, Johnson took substantial steps toward knowingly engaging in conduct which created a grave risk of death to five individuals but did not cause any deaths. This constitutes five counts of attempted murder per Utah State Code.”
Johnson was later taken into custody after officers pinned his car on a dead-end road, the statement said.
“Post-arrest and pursuant to excited utterance, Johnson admitted to nearly hitting multiple people with his vehicle, admitted to hitting the tables in front of the businesses on Main Street, admitted he ‘knew what (he) was doing’ and that he was a ‘professional driver.’ Johnson also admitted to being involved in a motorcycle pursuit last night with another agency in Utah County and stated the pursuit was ‘fun.'”
The police statement noted Johnson’s lengthy criminal history, saying it has included being charged and/or convicted of assault on an officer, domestic violence, damaging a correctional facility, trespass, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, protective order violations, resisting arrest, theft, arson, obstruction, intoxication, burglary, and drug distribution.
Johnson is being held without bail.