Salt Lake City man intentionally crashed into 6 female pedestrians in random attacks, prosecutors say

The 26-year-old man was charged with attempted murder.

(Salt Lake City Police Department) A Salt Lake City police vehicle sits near the site where a driver crashed into a pedestrian and left the scene on March 11, 2024. Prosecutors on March 25, 2024, brought attempted murder charges against 26-year-old Anh Pham, who police linked to at least three other such crashes.

A Utah man was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder Monday after prosecutors say he plowed his car into at least six female pedestrians over the last seven months.

Authorities suspect 26-year-old Anh Pham targeted the five women and one teenage girl at random, according to charging documents. He has also been connected to “at least three more hit-and-run incidents,” prosecutors say — two in Salt Lake County and one in Summit County.

“These were allegedly predatory targetings shrouded in the shadow of accidents,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said of Pham’s case Monday.

One of the women — a 20-year-old struck on March 11 near 600 W. North Temple — remains hospitalized in critical condition, Salt Lake City police said in a Monday news release.

That crash, reported at about 4:50 a.m. that morning, led officers to Pham thanks to a key piece of evidence: the front bumper of a Toyota Avalon found at the crash site. Investigators reviewed license plate-reader cameras to track whether similar cars that had been in the area that day, and Pham’s vehicle appeared in the footage, according to charging documents.

Two days after the crash, authorities found and arrested Pham at Liberty Park.

Pham initially told investigators he didn’t drive that “late” and had been in West Jordan at the time of the wreck, charging documents state. He added that he “may have lent the vehicle to one of his friends” and said that if he’d been in a crash, he would have stayed and waited for police.

But prosecutors say Pham ultimately told investigators that the car was “only mine,” and said, ”I don’t let anyone drive,” according to charging documents. His vehicle was missing a front bumper and had “extensive damage” to its right passenger side.

“Many of the people impacted by these hit-and-runs have very serious physical injuries and the emotional toll on them may last a lifetime. We are fortunate none of the victims were killed,” Salt Lake City police Chief Mike Brown said in a statement. “Our detectives have spent a considerable amount of time piecing these cases together.”

The crashes

Before the first crash, on Aug. 22, 2023, witnesses saw a white sedan with a license plate number registered to Pham pull up beside a 36-year-old woman. She shrugged off the vehicle and began to run away when the car “sped up and hit [her] causing her to fly over the vehicle and land on the ground hard,” charging documents state. The driver then sped away.

The woman later told police that before hitting her, the driver “asked her to get into the vehicle multiple times.” She refused, and that’s when he struck her. The woman had minor injuries and refused medical attention.

The next crash came six months later in Sandy, prosecutors allege, near 1700 East and 11490 South.

Witnesses found the victims — a 50-year-old woman and her 17-year-old daughter — lying on the side of the road after being struck on Feb. 24.

Investigators reviewed home security footage from the area and saw a Toyota Avalon driving down the road three times before the crash. On the third pass, footage shows the car “driving slowly in the bicycle lane.”

A license plate-reader camera recorded Pham’s car in the area nine minutes after the crash, charging documents state. The mother suffered a skull fracture and her daughter received cuts and abrasions.

Four days later, Salt Lake City police responded to a hit-and-run crash near Douglas and Laird avenues. The victims, a 44-year-old woman and a 50-year-old woman, told police they were walking on the east side of the street when they heard a vehicle accelerate before it struck them from behind.

One of them described the vehicle as “an older white sedan.” Both women were concussed and received lacerations and fractures.

The final crash was March 11, when Pham struck the 20-year-old woman in a crosswalk, prosecutors say. The woman’s companion said they were crossing the street when she saw a white vehicle speeding southbound on 600 West, then heard a vehicle hit the 20-year-old. She saw a white car driving away, charging documents state.

Witnesses told police that before the crash, they noticed a white car on 600 West approach them slowly, which “creeped them out.” They told officers that the white car had a red light when it picked up speed and slammed into the 20-year-old.

An investigative analysis later showed that the traffic light had been red for one minute and 45 seconds before the driver rammed the woman in the crosswalk. That woman suffered multiple fractures, including to her skull and pelvis, charging documents state.

Who is the suspect?

Investigators identified Pham in charging documents as homeless, noting he had been living in his car and has been driving with an expired license.

Court records show he has three other pending cases in Salt Lake County — one misdemeanor case, and two felony cases.

In the first felony case, Pham is accused of making a hoax 911 call. He allegedly called 911 on July 10, 2023, to report that a woman was running around with a gun and “was going to shoot everyone.” When Murray SWAT officers arrived and began closing down the area near 270 E. 5300 South, they determined there was no real threat and traced the caller’s number to Pham.

In the other felony case, Pham is accused of punching through an S-Line streetcar operator’s window glass. Pham told investigators in November that he fell into the window and it broke, court records show.

Prosecutors in his attempted murder case argued for a no-bail warrant, arguing that the “ongoing nature” of Pham’s “reckless disregard for human safety, callousness toward the results of his actions and complete disregard for the law” made him a danger to himself and the public.

Pham remains in custody at the Salt Lake County jail. He is facing six counts of attempted murder, a first-degree felony; and four counts of failure to stop at a crash with serious injury, a third-degree felony. Pham also faces two class-A misdemeanor counts of failure to stop at an injury crash.

He is scheduled for an initial appearance in court on Wednesday.