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Suspect in Payson hit-and-run involving 9-year-old turns self in, claims drowsy driving

police-lights-emergency-lights.jpg Police lights siren file photo
Posted at 8:03 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 19:36:33-05

PAYSON, Utah — Police have identified the suspect in a hit-and-run accident that sent a 9-year-old to the hospital in serious condition; a resident on the scene, who administered aid, urges drivers to be vigilant.

“I was coming through this intersection, traffic slowed down,” Payson resident, Alex Warner, said as he stood on the corner of 800 South and 100 East.

“See where all the stones are?” he asked as he pointed towards a median along the eastbound side of 800 South.

For Alex, coming back to the place where it happened, is a haunting experience.

“I saw there was a kid on the ground,” Alex said as he looked back on his drive home Wednesday afternoon. “It sounded like he was breathing but it was labored, [he was] in pain.”

Alex, being well versed in first aid, didn’t hesitate to get out of his car to see if he could help.

He found a shoe in the street. Then, about 30-feet away on the ground near the sidewalk, he found a 9-year-old boy – unconscious, injured and surrounded by other kids.

“I think honestly they [the kids] were all in shock,” said Alex.

“I asked, ‘What did you see? What did it happen?’” he continued. “All they could say is, ‘big truck,’ over and over.”

Alex did what he could to console the young onlookers and started rendering first aid on the boy until first responders could arrive.

“I just assessed the injuries,” Alex said. “The whole situation didn’t make any sense.”

Little did Alex know the boy had been involved in a hit-and-run accident. Police said a white pick-up truck left the roadway, drove onto the sidewalk and struck him while he was walking.

“You have a number of kids out there and you think that they’re safe because they’re walking on the sidewalk, and that wasn’t the case,” said Sergeant Noemi Sandoval with Payson Police.

The boy went to the hospital in serious condition – the truck just went away.

“We had, basically, a 4-door white truck,” Sandoval said.

Police posted on social media, requesting information and help from the public.

Police said the driver, now identified as Jason Broadhead, saw the post and turned himself in Thursday morning – claiming drowsy driving.

“The driver states he may have closed his eyes and when he awoke he found tha the was on the sidewalk by the intersection of 800 S. Canyon Road,” Payson Police said in a press release Thursday afternoon. “He stated he got off the sidewalk and turned right towards his home.”

Broadhead is now facing criminal charges for leaving the scene of an injury accident.

In a Facebook post, the boys mom said ‘the driver turned themselves in and it appears to have just been a tragic accident and mistakes were made.’

The boy is still at the hospital but is now in stable condition. Police said he has been talking and could be released as soon as Friday.

In a separate social media posting, the boy’s mother said,

“[He] is as okay as can be expected. He hurts so badly, and his sweet face is just so swollen,” she continued in a follow-up post. “He will be recovering for some weeks, I am sure. It is truly a miracle that this wasn’t worse.”

Police expressed their gratitude to those that stopped to render aid to the victim as well as the kids that watched it happen

“They were traumatized over what they saw and what happened, so I appreciate that those that were driving stopped and helped,” Sandoval said.

Alex said it’s a moment he will never forget.

“When I was able to walk away and get home, I did break down a little bit.”

Now, he hopes other drives will remember too.

“I think people need to be conscientious that along this road, kids are coming home from school,” said Alex.

A fundraising page has been started for the boy, to help cover medical costs. It can be found HERE.