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Suspected drug dealer accused of being high during fatal auto-ped

Published May 18, 2013 7:24 pm

After the crash, police say they found drugs, knives and gun in van.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Prosecutors have charged a suspected drug dealer with driving under the influence of methamphetamine when he allegedly hit and killed a man with his van.

Ashton Lee Godfrey, 20, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with automobile homicide, as well as DUI causing death, in case the court determines there isn't enough evidence for the former. Both are second-degree felonies that carry a sentence of one to 15 years in prison.

Godfrey was also charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, also second-degree felonies. He faces additional lesser charges, including four counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and one count of drug-paraphernalia possession.

On March 7, Unified police responded to a report of a Chevrolet Astro striking a pedestrian at 3850 S. 1100 East in Millcreek. They arrived to find Larry Madison, 64, critically injured on the side of the road.

Madison was taken to Intermountain Medical Center and died that afternoon. He had spent 40 years as a programmer at MediaOne, which oversees printing and advertising for The Salt Lake Tribune.

Based on surveillance video, a witness and evidence at the scene, investigators said they determined that Godfrey, the driver of the van, had been going south on 1100 East when he crossed into the northbound lanes and kept drifting east until he hit Madison. The retired programmer had been walking in the shoulder of the road.

Godfrey stopped to offer assistance, but as an officer spoke with Godfrey, he concluded the man was under the influence, according to the charges. A test of his blood showed positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine, the charges add.

Police said a search of the van turned up alcohol, methamphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, a digital scale, plastic bags for drug packaging, a firearm with ammo and three knives.

Godfrey has no prior criminal convictions, according to a search of Utah court records.

mmcfall@sltrib.comTwitter: @mikeypanda