Responding to questions about why the man who ran down and killed a South Salt Lake Police officer on Saturday hadn’t been charged in a fatal car crash he allegedly caused while fleeing from police in March, Utah’s Department of Public Safety released a timeline of its investigation into that encounter.
On March 25, Felix Anthony Calata — who was shot to death by police on Saturday after he struck officer David Romrell with his car — fled from police in a Jeep Cherokee, believed to be stolen, and crashed into a Chevrolet Sonic at the intersection of Bangerter Highway and California Avenue.
Calata and his passenger, Danyelle Jennings, were both ejected from the Jeep; Jennings died at the scene. The driver of the second vehicle was seriously injured.
Eight months later, Calata had not been charged with any crime in connection with that crash; the Department of Public Safety was scheduled to screen charges with the Salt Lake County district attorney’s office on Dec. 6. DPS released a statement attributing that delay to the “thorough job DPS agents and troopers do to provide complete investigations each time.”
“The length of our investigations [is] dependent on the details and circumstances surrounding each case. In this case, DPS investigators were waiting for multiple reports leading up to their meetings with prosecutors. This included a reconstruction report, which was complex due to the nature of the crash. Later, traffic light sequencing data was requested by prosecutors.”
The DPS' timeline of the investigation follows:
• March 25 — Crash occurs; investigation begins.
• March 26 — State Bureau of Investigation interviews Calata, who is hospitalized.
• March 27 — SBI interviews driver of second car.
• March 28 — SBI processes Jeep for evidence; Utah Highway office processes Chevrolet for reconstruction.
• March 30 — UHP processes Jeep for reconstruction.
• April 9 — SBI submits subpoena for medical records.
• April 17 — SBI receives subpoena for medical records.
• April 28 — SBI receives subpoenaed medical records.
• April 29 — UHP notifies SBI of fatal report completion.
• May 9 — UHP scale diagram completed.
• May 29 — DPS enters case into Prosecutor Information Management System.
• June 7 — DPS schedules screening with Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office for June 20.
• June 20 — Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office contacts DPS to cancel screening because of the D.A.’s desire to wait for completed reconstruction.
• June 26 — SBI receives medical examiner’s report.
• Aug. 16 — Calata is arrested by UHP on warrants in a separate incident, unrelated to the March 25 crash. He is held in the Salt Lake County Jail until mid-October.
• Aug. 18 — UHP reconstruction completed.
• Aug. 22 — SBI receives copy of the reconstruction report.
• August-September — SBI and UHP personnel meet to analyze crash investigation/reconstruction.
• Aug. 28 — DPS and Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office schedule meeting to screen charges for Sept. 12; it’s canceled because of scheduling conflicts.
• Sept. 27 — SBI conducts follow-up interview with second driver.
• Oct. 3 — SBI conducts follow-up interview with Calata in Salt Lake County Jail.
• Oct. 11 — SBI requests/receives jail calls for Calata.
• Oct. 16 — DPS reschedules screening for Oct. 24.
• Oct. 24 — DPS meets with Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office to screen case; prosecutor is assigned to follow up; DPS receives a request for information on traffic light sequencing; SBI contacts UDOT for assistance.
• Nov. 6 — Utah Department of Transportation contacts SBI and schedules meeting for Nov. 14.
• Nov. 14 — SBI meets with UDOT traffic engineer about light sequencing; DPS notifies Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office of additional data and requests new screening.
• Nov. 16 — Screening is scheduled for Dec. 6.
• Nov. 23 — SBI receives UDOT report explaining traffic light data.