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TAYLORSVILLE — A father said Tuesday he was “maddening” to learn of the decision by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office not to pursue felony or misdemeanor charges against a driver in a car crash that left one boy dead and another with lasting injuries.
On October 30, 2021, 13-year-old Karl Finch and his then-12-year-old friend Spencer Wall were crossing 2700 West in a crosswalk at Matterhorn Drive (6380 South) when they were hit by a car.
Taylorsville police forwarded their case to prosecutors at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, but the office declined to pursue the crime or serious charges against the 29-year-old driver.
Instead, Taylorsville city prosecutors filed multiple Class B misdemeanor charges against the man on April 25, including driving with a measurable controlled substance in his body, driving with a revoked or suspended license, and possession or use of a controlled substance. He was also given three violations for failing to yield to pedestrians when a traffic light is not working.
Charging documents said the man had 10 anabolic steroid pills in his pocket as well as marijuana and was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. A blood test, according to the charges, revealed that he had amounts of benzoylecgonine, THC and THC metabolite in his system.
“It all seems to go without saying, doesn’t it – it also seems obvious that his actions caused Karl’s death,” said Keven Wall, Spencer’s father. “When we found out a week ago, a week and a half ago, that the county had denied all charges and that the city was going to (do) what amounted to a slap on the wrist, it was pretty infuriating. .”
A spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Attorney’s Office said that due to pending lawsuits at the court level, he could not respond to the office’s decision.
“As much as when we were in our room and got the call that our son broke his arm and got hit by a car, that’s a big punch where you feel like relive all of that,” Wall said of the district attorney’s office decision.
Wall said there should at least be more serious consequences in cases where someone drives with a suspended license and causes a death.
“If that’s not worthy of spending time in prison, then what is? Wall interrogated.
Wall said his son is still dealing with lingering effects, including pain from the collision more than six months later, but maintains a positive outlook as he continues his long road to recovery.
“The neurosurgeon said afterwards that he hadn’t removed such a large blood clot from someone’s brain in his entire career,” Wall said.
Wall said he also found himself advocating for safer roads. In a recent Facebook post he shared publicly, he advocated for better lighting along streets and flashing lights at crosswalks.
“Our lives were truly forever changed that night,” Wall said. “We just wish it never happened again.”