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Utah man charged with car murder after initially blaming his friend

A Herriman man has been accused of killing a woman in a car accident he initially blamed on a friend.

Samuel Andrew Rockwell, 26, was charged with third-degree felony murder and obstruction of justice in the 3rd Circuit Court Tuesday; reckless driving, a Class B offence; no insurance for a vehicle and an open alcohol container in a vehicle, class C offense; and speeding, a violation.

According to the charges, the Riverton Police Department was called to a single car accident on 13400 S. Bangerter Highway early in the morning of September 4th. Rockwell and another man were slightly injured, and a woman in the back seat of the car was killed. Police reported that the two men had extricated themselves from the wrecked car and that they “showed each other to be drivers.” Neither witnesses nor UDOT cameras were able to determine who was driving.

Police later determined that the car, registered to the second man, had been traveling north on Bangerter at about 116 mph as it turned east into southbound turn lanes, veered over a concrete lane divider, over a concrete median barrier tipped over and came to a stop in a field, hitting a sign post and a traffic light pole before crashing through a chain link fence and hitting a raised concrete platform.

The police initially assumed that the second man was the driver. He was arrested and sent to the Salt Lake County Jail. When he was taken into custody, he said, according to police, “I can’t believe Sam is making me pay for this,” he said.

Around 11 p.m. the same day, police said Rockwell had arrived at the Riverton Police Department. When officers met him in the parking lot, he said “unprompted…that he was in fact the driver” in the fatal accident. According to the indictment, Rockwell told police the other man was a passenger. He said the woman in the back seat was “Lovey Dovey” with him just before the accident. She pulled his face to hers, Rockwell said, and he drifted into the median and lost control of the car.

According to police, Rockwell said he told them the truth because it wasn’t right that the other man was in jail and that he blamed his friend because he was scared, he knew the victim was dead, and he knew he was going to lose his job. Police said forensic tests later confirmed Rockwell was the driver and that his blood alcohol level was 0.17 – more than three times the legal limit.

As of Wednesday morning, Rockwell’s first court appearance was not scheduled.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/03/30/utah-man-charged-with/ Utah man charged with car murder after initially blaming his friend

Joel McCord

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