Booking photo for Benjamin T. Balls (Courtesy: Grand County Sheriff’s Office Jail).
MOAB — Felony charges are pending against a 41-year-old Hyde Park man accused of manslaughter. Benjamin T. Balls is being held in the Grand County Sheriff’s Office Jail after allegedly causing a three vehicle crash that killed a father and son, plus sent a woman to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Moab City Police Department reports the crash occurred Sunday night at Center Street and Main Street. The collision resulted in the deaths of Moab residents, 45-year-old Vilsar Camey and 10-year-old Israel Camey.
Minutes before the crash, law enforcement received the first of two 911 calls reporting a reckless driver in a white truck northbound on U.S. 191 at mile marker 124. Balls was reported to be traveling at a high rate of speed and running vehicles off the road while operating in the center lane.
A Utah Highway Patrol trooper observed the vehicle and activated his emergency lights in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop. Balls allegedly accelerated and proceeded through a red light within Moab City limits. The trooper recognized the inherent danger of a vehicle pursuit through town and disengaged.
A short time later the vehicle was observed by two Grand County Sheriff’s Office deputies, still traveling north at a high rate of speed. Both deputies began to follow the vehicle at a distance. Approaching Center and Main Street, Balls proceeded through the intersection using the left turn lane, running the red light and colliding with an SUV occupied by Camey and his son.
Balls’ vehicle then struck a second SUV occupied by 30-year-old Katherine Sawyer, before coming to a stop across the sidewalk. The impact created a chain reaction that caused collateral damage to several vehicles parked on the west side of Main Street. Sawyer was transported to the hospital where she was treated for her injuries.
Balls was transported to the hospital and later released into the custody of Moab City police officers. He is being held on suspicion of manslaughter, failing to respond to an officer’s signal to stop resulting in death or injury, reckless driving, criminal mischief, failure to provide insurance at the scene of an accident, failure to obey traffic control devices, unsafe lane travel, and failure to operate in a single lane.
Family and friends of Vilsar and Israel Camey have started a GoFundMe account to raise money for funeral expenses. They said, “We ask for prayers for our family in Christ!!”