It likely will be several weeks before investigators decide whether to seek charges against a driver who initially left the scene after fatally striking a homeless man in a wheelchair.
Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said Thursday that investigation of the Wednesday night accident in Millcreek, which killed 59-year-old Raymond Nielson, was being handled by UPD’s Crash, Analysis and Reconstruction Team.
“They will do all the [accident] reconstruction work first and then they will screen it with the [Salt Lake County] District Attorney’s Office,” Hoyal said. “That way they have all the facts put together and the DA can decide what, if any, charges will be filed.”
There are no crosswalks in the area where Nielson attempted to cross a dark 700 East at 3065 South about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and was hit by a northbound car. The impact spread parts from his electric wheelchair over the crash site.
UPD investigators said the male driver drove on for several blocks but returned to the scene to inquire about what he had hit. He reportedly told officers that he thought he may have hit a misplaced trash can.
UPD said Nielson was a military veteran who expected to move soon into subsidized housing possibly arranged through the Veterans Administration. Until then, he had temporarily been living with an uncle at an unspecified location in the Salt Lake Valley.
Officers were able to quickly identify Nielson from documents found at the scene, and from a brother who arrived at the scene from his Cottonwood Heights home after hearing about the accident.