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8 new arrests made in late night Salt Lake City street racing bust

Street Racing Arrest
Posted at 11:57 AM, Jul 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 16:52:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Police announced on Monday that they have arrested eight additional people in connection to a street racing bust over the weekend. Seven people were originally booked into the Salt Lake County Jail early Saturday after the event was broken up late Friday night.

A total of 15 people have now been booked into jail for the bust which was a joint operation between Salt Lake City Police, Utah Highway Patrol, and the Utah State Bureau of Investigation.

Around 11:45 p.m. Friday, officers shut down the roadway in the area of 4800 West 1100 South where "dozens of vehicles" of vehicles were street racing.

Salt Lake City street racing busts
Police block in vehicle following street racing bust in Salt Lake City

Six of the original suspects, Jose Manuel Garcia, 20, Gustavo Mendez, 20, Jonathan Laguna, 23, Thomas Madsen, 45, Erric Balderas, 22, and Cristopher Luna, 23, were all taken into custody after being positively identified and pulled over.

The remaining suspect, Jean Bernier, 29, attempted to flee the area, pulling out of a parking lot and hitting another vehicle.

Bernier then drove around pedestrians and the police closure, nearly hitting officers who were outside of their vehicles. One UHP trooper positioned his vehicle to stop Bernier, who nearly hit the vehicle head on, but then lost control and crashed in a concrete business sign that was off the road, disabling the vehicle in the process.

Once he was in custody, Bernier admitted to having smoked marijuana earlier in the day. The probable cause statement also reported that he had smelled of alcohol. Officers also found marijuana in the car's center console and an open container of alcohol. A field sobriety test was not given, due to a risk of Bernier fleeing on foot.

Salt Lake City street racing bust

Two passengers were in Bernier's car, and complained of injuries caused by the crash. Both were evaluated by first responders on scene.

The first six suspects were booked into Salt Lake County Jail from the crime of performing a Speed Contest or Exhibition on a Highway, with bail being set at $500 each.

Bernier, meanwhile, was booked for the crimes of Reckless Driving, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Drinking Alcohol in a Vehicle, Accident involving Property Damage, and Failure to Stop at Command of Police. Bail has been set at $5,000.