Suspect in Utah officer’s death was investigated for killing someone else this year


    March 25, 2018 - Fatal crash involving suspect Felix Calata. IMAGE: (Utah Highway Patrol) <p>{/p}

    SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – The man suspected of killing South Salt Lake Police officer David Romrell was under investigation of killing someone with his car while fleeing from police earlier this year, according to court records obtained by 2News.

    Felix Calata, 32, was shot and killed by police officers in South Salt Lake shortly after allegedly running over Officer Romrell during a burglary Saturday night.

    According to court records, this is not the first time Calata has been accused of killing someone with his vehicle.

    Earlier this year, Utah Highway Patrol investigators said Calata was behind the wheel of a Jeep Grand Cherokee that fled from a police officer on Bangerter Highway before smashing into another car, killing a passenger in Calata's Jeep.

    In a warrant issued on March 25, 2018, troopers wrote that a Utah Department of Natural Resources officer had stopped to check on a car that parked on the side of the road near 5800 West 2100 South. The DNR officer spotted drug paraphernalia in the car, according to the warrant.

    “DNR officer asked for Calata’s ID and asked him about the pipe at that time. Calata put the Grand Cherokee in drive and drove away at a high rate of speed. The DNR officer followed without pursuing and lost sight of the Grand Cherokee after it turned on California Avenue from Bangerter,” the warrant says.

    The officer then saw a cloud of dust at the intersection of Bangerter Highway and California Avenue.

    The car Calata was driving had smashed into another car at the intersection, according to the warrant.

    A female passenger in Calata's car, later identified as Danyelle Jennings, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene. Calata was ejected from the Jeep – which investigators later determined to be stolen.

    One other person in the car that hit was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

    While Calata was in the hospital being treated for his injuries, a Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant wrote in the warrant that she believed there was probable cause against Calata for Automobile Homicide and Felony DUI.

    Troopers used the warrant to collect a blood sample from Calata.

    What happened to Calata after the initial warrant was issued is unclear.

    Electronic court records do not show any criminal charges were filed against Calata in connection with the crash.

    A Utah Highway Patrol spokesperson said the agency would have to check its records of the incident, which would not be available until Monday.

    Calls to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson were not immediately returned Sunday.


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