Stock photo
Police are hoping to speak to the driver who fled from a car crash late Wednesday night that left a passenger in critical condition.

SANDY — Police are hoping to speak to the driver who fled from a car crash late Wednesday night that left a passenger in critical condition.

A car was traveling north on Sandy Parkway near 9100 South about 10:30 p.m. when it veered off the side of the road and hit a tree, causing the vehicle to spin out before coming to a stop.

The impact from the collision smashed the rear end of the vehicle.

"It was like somebody had just taken an axe and hacked right down the middle and opened it," Sandy Police Sgt. Jason Nielsen said.

A 38-year-old passenger in the vehicle was ejected and thrown 30 to 40 feet, landing in a nearby parking lot, Nielsen said. The man was taken to a local hospital in extremely critical condition, but was later upgraded to critical, police said.

Witnesses told police that the driver walked away from the crash. Fearing that the driver might be injured, extra officers, police K-9 units and even thermal imaging machines were brought to the scene to search for him, Nielsen said.

The man was not found, he said.

Comment on this story

Police were able to contact the vehicle's owner, who knew the two men who had been in the car. Based on that information, Nielsen said detectives have identified the driver and hoped to talk to him Thursday.

Speed was believed to be a factor in the crash, he said. Investigators were also looking at whether impairment was a factor, as drugs and alcohol were thrown from the vehicle due to the crash, Nielsen said.

"We did find containers of alcohol and we also did find some narcotics," he said. "They were spread out all over the place."