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Police officer recounts road-rage horror in Centerville

FILE: Police cruisers are parked outside the Centerville Police department on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY —  In a blink of an eye, a 2 1/2 ton pickup rammed into a man and rolled over him, crushing him.  Two lives, two families forever changed. Road rage.

That near-collision between a Ford F-150 pickup and a Mitsubishi Lancer at the exit of a Walmart store in Centerville ignited a road-rage tragedy. And all of it happened before the eyes of the truck driver’s daughters.

The victim remains hospitalized with internal bleeding and multiple broken bones — including ribs and pelvis — but should survive, police say.

Read more: Charges filed in Centerville road rage incident, one in jail, one in hospital

Lt. Allen Ackerson of the Centerville Police Department joined Dave & Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio to discuss the incident.

Centerville road rage case highlights the dangers of driving mad

Ackerson said the pickup driver — Shawn Paul Smith, 44 — thought the Lancer driver, 20, had collided with his truck and began to tail-gate the Lancer. Both drivers entered the parking lot of a Target store.

Video recorded the truck’s license plate.

“Which is how we found him,” Ackerson said. “He was booked into the Davis County jail for aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident. He’ll probably be facing several other charges, including commission of a violent offense in front of a child.” 

Smith alleged to police the Lancer driver pulled a gun and pointed at him and his daughters.

“There’s no surveillance of the gun. And if he had a gun, it definitely would have shown up on the surveillance, and it definitely would have been found on scene,” Ackerson said. He added none of the seven witnesses reported seeing a gun.

Listen to our full conversation below.

A search warrant on the victim’s car did not turn up a weapon.

Ackerson said the parties disagree over whether the driver of the Lancer attempted to open the passenger door of the pickup. But he did cross in front of the truck moving toward the driver’s side, Ackerson said.

“And that’s when the driver of the truck gunned it, which is how it was described, and ran him over,” he said.

Ackerson said the victim went under the front driver’s side tire, which dragged the victim for about 75 feet. He said the pickup driver ran a stop sign in the parking lot and left the area.

Do you drive angry? Take the road rage quiz Dave & Debbie talked about on the show. 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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