Two men have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a driver whose car then crashed through an Orem neighborhood early Tuesday.
Orem police initially thought 42-year-old Rupert E. Miley had died from injuries suffered in the 3:15 a.m. traffic crash. A vehicle was traveling west in the eastbound lanes, when it struck a light pole, plowed into some trees and road signs, and destroyed a fire hydrant, coming to a rest near 200 East and 800 North, said Orem police Lt. Craig Martinez. Miley was found unconscious at the scene and later died at a hospital.
"Shortly after the investigation started, things weren’t adding up," Martinez wrote in a press release. "The amount of blood on the driver didn’t match the injuries that the officers could see."
Investigators quickly discovered that Miley had suffered a gunshot wound to the back, Martinez said.
A passenger in the car also was at the scene, with only minor injuries. Mason French, 24, provided details that didn’t match up with evidence at the scene, and officers took him into custody.
A revolver later was found at the scene of the crash. Debris from the collisions was spread over several blocks, forcing police to close down all eastbound lanes through the area Tuesday morning while wreckage was cleared and the investigation proceeded.
Later officers learned a third man, Travis Waldron, 24, also may have been in the car, Martinez wrote. He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon.
Waldron and French both were booked into jail on suspicion of murder and obstruction of justice; Waldron also is suspected of a firearms violation.
It is not the first run-in with the law for either man.
Waldron pleaded guilty to drug and theft charges, including one felony, in two separate cases in 2012. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges in two separate cases in 2009 and to drug and disorderly conduct charges in 2007.
French was charged in March with felony possession of a controlled substance and is awaiting trial. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to charges of underage alcohol consumption and false identification. He pleaded no contest to a charge of disorderly conduct in 2007.
Miley had a history of mostly minor criminal convictions, beginning in 2004 with misdemeanor convictions for drug possession and criminal mischief, according to Utah court records.
Since then he had pleaded guilty in four other drug cases, including a third-degree felony for which he was sentenced to a year in jail, and an assault case.
In October, Miley was charged with misdemeanor counts of drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. A pre-trial conference in that case had been set for next month in Orem’s justice court.
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