Teen driver charged with murder after death of West Valley City man

West Valley City teen murder charge
Posted at 4:01 PM, Jun 21, 2023

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the death of a West Valley City man who was killed when a stolen car driven by the teen slammed into him as he stood in front of a neighborhood home.

Along with the murder charge, the boy was also charged with one count of theft and another for failure to respond to police officers.

On May 25, Adrian Hernandez-Rodriguez was talking to a neighbor in front of a home when a stolen Honda CRV traveling at 76 miles per hour struck a curb and went airborne before hitting the 24-year-old victim. Officers on the scene had to ping Hernandez-Rodriguez's cell phone to find his body buried under a large pile of debris, according to court documents.

While Hernandez-Rodriguez did not live at the home where the accident occurred, he did live nearby.

Police said the 15-year-old boy and another suspect had originally stolen the vehicle from the Salt Lake City International Airport parking lot on May 22.

When the Honda was spotted days later, the teen driver attempted to evade police while driving through the West Valley City neighborhood. The teen and two other suspects got out of the vehicle and tried to abandon it before the teen got back inside and drove away while side-swiping a police vehicle and running over a set of spike strips.

Moments after speeding away, the teen drove around a blind corner and hit the curb that sent him crashing into Hernandez-Rodriguez. An investigation showed the boy was at 99% full throttle when he went airborne.

Officers found the teen next to the Honda after the crash and claimed his leg was broken.

Because one of the homes struck by the Honda had its gas meter sheared off, five nearby homes were evacuated as crews worked to contain the gas leak before residents were allowed back in their homes hours later.