Authorities identify man left in critical condition after hit-and-run in South Salt Lake; suspect in custody

Posted at 8:19 PM, Sep 01, 2017

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah -- Police in South Salt Lake have arrested a suspect in connection with a hit-and-run crash that left a man in critical condition earlier this week.

Police say they arrested 20-year-old Lutolofi Maama Friday night after he played "cat and mouse" in his attempts to escape.

The crash occurred Tuesday, just before midnight, in the area of 3300 South and 900 West.

Gary Keller with South Salt Lake Police said witnesses reported seeing a motorcyclist hit a pedestrian, then take off.

A 49-year-old male pedestrian was taken to a hospital with "life-threatening head trauma", and as of Friday he remained in critical condition. Police identified him Saturday as Mark Edward Swindle of South Salt Lake.

Police determined the motorcycle involved in the crash was a Honda bullet bike, which was reported stolen.

On Thursday, police found the motorcycle hidden in the bushes next to an abandoned house near 412 East Warnock Avenue, Keller said. He said the motorcycle showed evidence that the rider was injured.

Friday evening, he said investigators canvassed the neighborhood to ask about the suspect. That's when they saw a man take off on a bicycle.

When police tried to talk with the man, Keller said he fled. Eventually he ditched the bicycle and Keller said the man ran from officers, by jumping over fences and hiding in a dumpster.

Multiple agencies including Salt Lake City Police and K9 officers helped in the chase. Eventually they caught up with the man and Keller said they peacefully took him into custody near Lake Street and 2700 South.

Now he said police can deliver the news of the arrest to the family of the victim.

"They've got a family member that's... his life hangs in the balance," Keller said. "I'm sure they'll be elated that we have at least a lead or a possible suspect."

Police booked Maama into the Salt Lake County Jail, and formal charges in the case will be screened by the District Attorney's Office.

Police said they are certain Maama is the suspect because the man has an uncanny resemblance to the witness description, plus he has fresh road rash as well as other injuries like bandages on his hands, and scrapes and bruises on his face.