Driver turns self in for hitting, killing motorcyclist in Sandy

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Posted at 6:25 PM, Oct 08, 2023

SANDY, Utah — A man was arrested on several charges after hitting and killing a motorcycle rider in Sandy while allegedly driving drunk.

According to an arrest report, 21-year-old Joseph Christian Ornelas called police from a Del Taco restaurant at 8580 S. 1300 East after fleeing the scene of the crash.

Ornelas told police he was driving at around 20-25 miles per hour when he approached an intersection, and he ran into a motorcycle that was stopped at the red light. He then left the scene without attempting to help the victim or provide his information. He parked his car in a residential area about a block away from the Del Taco, then walked to the restaurant and called the police.

The motorcycle rider died as a result of the crash.

When they arrived at Del Taco, officers asked Ornelas how much he had to drink, and he said he had two shots of rum. He admitted he was driving on a suspended license, and police confirmed with a records check that it was suspended for a previous conviction for driving under the influence. He also allegedly had a current warrant for another DUI.

Ornelas agreed to a field sobriety test, and the arresting officer said he showed signs of impairment. A warrant was requested to draw his blood to measure the alcohol content.

Ornelas was booked early Sunday morning, facing felony charges of negligently operating a vehicle resulting in a death and failure to remain at an accident involving death. He also faces one infraction and three misdemeanors related to driving restrictions. He was ordered to be held without bail.