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Daughter speaks after man who killed her mother in crash kills South Salt Lake Police officer

Posted at 3:09 PM, Nov 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 10:07:36-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- The driver who hit and killed a South Salt Lake Police officer Saturday was under investigation for a fatal rollover accident in March, and the family of the victim in that case is asking why he wasn't behind bars.

Police said Felix Calata, 32,  of West Valley City, was the driver of the vehicle that hit and killed Officer David Romrell in a critical incident Saturday night.

Calata was shot dead during the incident, South Salt Lake police said.

A warrant filed on March 25 of this year stated that Calata was the driver of a Jeep Cherokee that fled a DNR officer, ran a red light and hit a car.

That crash killed Danielle Jennings. Jennings' daughter, Ashlie Tom, said she learned about the deadly officer-involved incident on Facebook.

"I read the story where it listed the suspect’s name, it was kinda like my heart kinda dropped," she said. "I was like, is this really the guy that this whole thing is going around? And I checked for the guy with the situation that happened with my mom and it was the same name, same age, same everything and I was just like, 'oh, this is just insane.'"

She said months later, her family is still coping with the tragedy.

"The thing that really stands out to me is that she really was a great mom," she said. "It hurts that she never got a chance to meet my son."

Tom is also asking why Calata was not behind bars.

"My mom lost her life and then there was another one who got severely injured, and no charges were pressed against him, nothing was ever done, we were never contacted with what was gonna happen with the whole situation; it happened and that was it," Tom said.

She said her heart breaks for Officer Romrell's family.

"He just had a baby, and I just had my baby too... I was just in shock in a way," she said. "I feel like it could have been prevented. If something would have happened, if something could have been done with the situation with my mom: It could have been prevented."

A warrant for a blood draw was filed following the accident in March. Police believed impairment may have been a factor, the warrant stated.

Calata had allegedly had previous contact with DNR officials before the crash. A DNR officer had stopped to ask why he was parked on the side of the road near 5800 W. 2100 S, when Calata took off at a high rate of speed after encountering the officer, the warrant stated.