Utah man charged with manslaughter after fatal car collision

A Utah man has been charged with manslaughter after he allegedly ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle, killing the driver, on Dec. 4.

Mitchell Garrett Solstad, 26, of Salt Lake City was charged in 3rd District Court with manslaughter, a second-degree felony; reckless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia and leaving the scene of an accident, all Class B misdemeanors; having no vehicle insurance, a Class C misdemeanor; and driving without a license and having no vehicle registration, which are infractions.

According to a probable cause statement, a witness told police he was stopped at a red light at the intersection of 1300 South and 400 East when he was rear-ended by a purple 1989 Jeep Cherokee driven by Solstad. The witness said Solstad put the Jeep in reverse and quickly drove away, so he followed him.

Another witness told police he saw a Jeep pursued by a white sedan down Roosevelt Avenue, and both vehicles were traveling at “approximately freeway speeds.” Multiple witnesses said they saw the Jeep run a stop sign at 1100 East — one said it “caught some air from the drainage ditch” — and strike a car traveling north on 1100 East before flipping and landing on its side.

The driver of the car that was struck — Arthur Miller, 55, a child psychiatrist who was medical director of the boys’ youth unit at the Utah State Hospital — was transported to the University of Utah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

One witness told police he pulled Solstad, who smelled of alcohol, out of the Jeep after the crash, and that Solstad said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Solstad was also transported to the U. of U. Hospital, in critical condition.

Police wrote that they determined Solstad was driving between 52 and 54 mph on Bryan Avenue, where the speed limit is 25 mph. According to the charging documents, a bong, glass pipe and tin foil with a black/brown tar-like substance were either located in the Jeep or fell out of the vehicle when it flipped. Blood tests showed methamphetamine and THC in Solstad’s system, according to police.