Victim on life support after property dispute escalates to hit-and-run

Posted at 9:36 PM, Aug 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-29 23:36:18-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah -- A Spanish Fork woman is on life support after a property dispute led to a hit and run, and police caught the suspect.

Doctors are fighting to save the victim, and the neighbor who saw it all talked exclusively with FOX 13 News.

"It's horrible, it's horrendous, things like this shouldn't happen," neighbor Sarah Morgan said.

Morgan knew her neighbor, Debbie Butler, was concerned about 53-year-old Dianna Carlson's presence on the Butler's property.

"Mrs. Carlson had been staying at the residence off and on with Mr. Butler," said Lt. Cody Slaymaker of the Spanish Fork Police Department.

It was a relationship fueled by drug abuse, police said. The victim called 911 Tuesday after neighbors reported seeing the suspect on the Butler family property.

Debbie Butler told a Utah valley 911 dispatcher, "My husband that I'm separated from was arrested yesterday after a search warrant, and one of the people that's been hanging around my house has brought in a trailer... I went today [Tuesday] and told this person they need to get their stuff out by tonight, and she said she didn't have to."

Neighbors spotted Carlson with a trailer and several items.  Debbie Butler went to the home and confronted Carlson.

"They were screaming at each other," Morgan said.

"Mrs. Butler reached inside the car to stop her from leaving," Slaymaker said.

Morgan described that moment.

"As soon as I saw her hand go in the window, I panicked, I knew what was going to happen," she said.  "Dianna rolled the window up on Debbie's hand and pushed the gas in the truck and started to drag Debbie. It drug her for 25, maybe 30 feet and Debbie was running next to the vehicle and the truck never slowed down, it just kept going faster."

Debbie Butler hit the pavement, and the trailer ran over her head.

"Every hour that goes by, it's a miracle she's alive," said Utah County Prosecutor Craig Johnson.

Johnson asked that no bail be set for Carlson, and the judge overseeing the case agreed.  Now, family and friends pray for the victim while the neighbor who saw it all unfold wants Dianna Carlson locked up.

"She needs to not come out of jail for the rest of her life," Morgan said.

Carlson currently faces an aggravated assault charge, but if the victim dies, the charge could be elevated.

Her first appearance is September 4 at 8:30 a.m.