UPDATE: Man arrested in fatal hit-and-run on Dixie Drive

ST. GEORGE — Police have arrested a man believed to be responsible for a fatal hit-and-run incident in St. George Saturday that took the life of a 53-year-old woman.

Arturo Morales Garcia, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Dec. 12, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The suspect, later identified as Arturo Morales Garcia, who will turn 37 in two days, was arrested in St. George at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, St. George Police Public Information Officer said in a video posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Garcia’s arrest stems from an incident in which Bettina Abraham, of St. George, was found dead on the side of the road near 650 N. Dixie Drive, just south of the Biolife facility, after apparently being struck by a vehicle, according to police. She was found by two passersby who contacted police.

Officers, emergency personnel and an accident-reconstruction team were called out, as was the investigations unit to process the scene.

Read more: Update: Police release name of fatal hit-and-run victim; ask for public’s help

Detectives were able to locate Garcia after processing evidence obtained at the scene and speaking to witnesses who provided a possible make and model of the vehicle Garcia was allegedly driving on the night of the incident.

Investigators were able to determine that the vehicle that struck Abraham was a 2005 Ford Freestar, according to a probable cause statement filed in connection with Garcia’s arrest. Following a records check, police were able to locate the vehicle and identify Garcia as a possible suspect.

A search warrant was obtained to search Garcia’s car, which was recovered at his St. George residence. After an examination of the vehicle, officers determined it was the vehicle involved in the fatal incident.

Officers also learned Garcia was an alcohol restricted driver with a suspended Utah driver’s license.

When questioned by police, Garcia allegedly admitted he was driving the Ford Freestar Saturday evening when he struck Abraham, who Garcia said “had been in the roadway,” according to the statement.

Garcia told police he was aware the victim was most likely injured during impact, but admitted he did not stop or render aid for fear he would be arrested, the report states, noting that he drove to his residence immediately after the incident instead.

Garcia admitted to police he should have stopped to help the victim, but failed to do so, the report states. He also said he was aware he should have reported the incident to police, but made no attempt to contact authorities and, instead, took steps to conceal any evidence of damage to the vehicle.

Additionally, Garcia allegedly told police that he was aware his license was suspended, that he was an alcohol restricted driver, which prohibited him from having any alcohol in his system, and that he was required to have an interlock device on the vehicle, which he did not have.

He also admitted to police that prior to the hit-and-run incident, he consumed at least four beers and another alcoholic beverage at a restaurant before getting into his car and hitting Abraham on North Dixie Drive a short time later, the report states.

“The damage to the vehicle and injuries to the victim are consistent with a significant vehicle impact which caused the victim’s death,” Detective Terry Taylor said in the probable cause statement.

Officers responded to notify Abraham’s family that an arrest had been made late Tuesday evening, Trombley said in a statement.

“Our accident reconstruction team, our investigations unit have worked tirelessly since the incident to locate the suspect and bring closure to the family, to the victim and to the community as a whole,” Trombley said.

Garcia was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on a third-degree felony count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, along with three class B misdemeanors for driving on a suspended/revoked license, operating a vehicle without an interlock device and alcohol restricted driver.

Garcia remains in jail on $7,040 bail pending trial.

This report​ ​is​ ​based​ ​on​ ​statements​ ​from​ ​police​ ​or​ ​other​ ​emergency​ ​responders​ ​and​ ​may​ ​not contain​ ​the​ ​full​ ​scope​ ​of​ ​findings. Persons​ ​arrested​ ​or​ ​charged​ ​are​ ​presumed​ ​innocent​ ​until​ ​found​ ​guilty​ ​in​ ​a​ ​court​ ​of​ ​law​ ​or​ ​as otherwise​ ​decided​ ​by​ ​a​ ​trier-of-fact.

Email:​ ​​cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter:​ ​​@STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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41 Comments

  • Foxyheart December 13, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Once again someone was harmed by a driver who was supposed to have an interlock device on his/her vehicle. Why don’t our legislators come up with something that forces them to get this installed? How about something that fits into the ignition that would not allow a key to be inserted, or take all car keys and fobs, until the interlock is installed. Then they have to pay ahead for the interlock (can be installed in teir driveway) or it is charged to them through the fines, etc. Let’s prevent these maimings and deaths instead of allowing them to be able to drive without it.

  • Utahguns December 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Excellent work SGPD !
    I’m not going to waste my time slamming this Garcia slime…there will be enough of that in these comments.

  • Real Life December 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    What a piece of trash. He deserves the death penalty.

    • Bender December 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Why does he deserve the death penalty?

      • Real Life December 13, 2017 at 8:14 pm

        Did he knowingly leave her there to die?

        • .... December 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

          Must be related to you

          • Real Life December 14, 2017 at 2:43 pm

            Get off the dope son, it’s done made you stupid.

          • Badshitzoo December 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm

            Did someone say “Dope” ? Cause it would sure improve my outlook on reading the rest of these comments!

    • AnotherReader December 13, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      @reallife, the death penalty? Really? We rarely give premeditating serial killers or child molesting murderers the death penalty. He may deserve lots and lots of time, but not the death penalty.

      • .... December 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        Don’t mind Real Life he’s always confused

  • 42214 December 13, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I hope ICE is notified.

  • mctrialsguy December 13, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Illegals in California run over 2 people a day, hit-and-run…and 94% run away!! True!!

  • Chiefs Fan December 13, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    His bail is certainly set to low for the crime committed. He doesn’t deserve to see the light of day! Some people should donate their blood, all of it. He is one of them!!

  • Kyle L. December 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    I say have him stand up in the middle of the road and give one of her family members a run at him at thirty miles an hour. We could let the cards fall where they may.

  • Chiefs Fan December 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    I agree, Kyle L.

  • mmsandie December 13, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Great comments above, include yrs in prison, put him in the middle of the rd too..ICE should be contacted too.. he kne2 he hit s9meone

  • Tiffany December 13, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    First off it easy for a person to say he shouldn’t get the death penalt, because it wasn’t their family member killed! He not only willingly was drinking when he is not supposed to, but got into a car without the device in it, had a revoked license, hit someone, and then topped it off by not stopping or calling the authorities!! Bettina was a Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Daughter, and Aunt! She was my Aunt!! I will not be able to hear her laugh, have one of her hugs that she squeezes you with a little shake and giggle, see her play with her grandkids, or to watch her daughter’s get married! He deserves a higher bail, tougher charges, and much more!! He will be able to sit in jail, but will be able to see his family. We won’t see her again! So for those of you that want to sit there behind your phones and say he doesn’t deserve a heavier sentence or possible death, think about this, what if she was your family? How would you feel then? Take a step back and think before you speak!

    • Chiefs Fan December 13, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      I’m so sorry Tiffany, I agree with you wholeheartedly. He knew what he was doing. My heart breaks for you and your family.

    • Bender December 13, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Terrible event and inexcusable crime; my sincere condolences. As reported it does not appear to be a death penalty eligible offense:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_Utah

    • Redbud December 14, 2017 at 3:04 am

      Tiffany, you are completely right! Sorry this happened to your aunt, such a horrible thing to happen to a family member.

      As a side note:

      BUILD THAT WALL!!! BUILD THAT WALL!!! BUILD THAT WALL!!!

  • chris keele December 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    I don’t see where there is mention made of his immigration status, I have been trying to get our politician’s and leaders to understand that these people live like this in their country, drink and drive, drink and get violent with their family members and others, and it is not unusual at all ,it is the normal way they live in a lot of their lives, that is why they are here, to take advantage of our open and free society, why have we become so naive?, Has Utah becoming a sanctuary? Everyone of us should contact our Governor and Legislators and demand an end to this ridiculous practice of turning a blind eye to this infringement on our homeland. Wake up America!

  • mesaman December 13, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Great police work in following scant leads to a quick arrest. I congratulate you for your service and want you to know I appreciate it very much.

  • DRT December 13, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Good job SGPD!

  • utahdiablo December 13, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    One piece of Lead…

    • Sedona December 13, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      Yup!

    • Bender December 14, 2017 at 2:38 am

      Trump man, eh? Rule of law frustrate you? Vigilante justice may be the answer. The legal system is for chumps and squares.

  • mshaw December 14, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Someone should notify president Trump on this matter the guy is a illegal in our country he should be put in prison with a harder penalty less food like the other country’s do to other people the problem is you got governor Herbert that wants to shelter the illegals and this is where it becomes a problem. Herbert will probably call this scumbag and tell him to go home to Mexico and not to do it again and repent. And the guy will thank Herbert go home buy a new fake name and be back next week

  • paul December 14, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Someone needs to run him over and just leave him there see how he likes it He be out in a week on good behavior

  • chris keele December 14, 2017 at 9:22 am

    We can see these same stories any and everyday in the state of Utah or in any state in this Country, illegals perpetrating desperate crimes upon the innocent and often naive citizens of our nation, they know they have already broken federal law by being here illegally, and more often than not they have assumed someones identity, so to get in and drive the car when drunk, or to do a home invasion or to rob their fellow country men that are trying to make an honest living, or to go up into our national forests and grow marijuana for the drug cartels, or it doesn’t matter, even just throwing trash out on the highway’s or whatever, they don’t obey the law because they know they are already an (outlaw). These people came from 3rd world countries that are run by drug cartel’s where there is no rule of law, and they just have no respect for our culture or society or rule of law. Let us find out which judge let this predator out and have that judge removed from the Bar or recalled so that we can send a message to the legal system that we are entirely fed up with their incompetent, progressive, way of administering justice or actually a lack of justice. I want my Country back, too many great patriot’s have sacrificed so much and are still sacrificing every day to give us the freedom’s we are taking for granted, and our amazing men and women in law enforcement that have to rearrest these perpetrators over and over, how discouraged must they feel? Let us not squander our freedom’s and diminish their efforts. God bless the U.S.A. Chris Keele. in St. George.

    • Rob83 December 14, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Well said Chris. Truest words and makes sense why they are showing up all over the place as the perps. It’s hard for me to believe a certain race turns up the perp, but your words makes it all make sense. I am at least happy to know that I live in a town where the police truly care to keep our town safe and they certainly have their work cut out for them, thank you SGPD and all others, including witnesses, for getting him off the streets, as sad as it is for her being who she was, imagine if it had been an innocent young child. Nobody deserves that more than another, I’m just sensitive to children =(.

  • makkie December 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Yet one more incident like Kate Steinle where an american would still be alive if it wasn’t for sanctuary policies.Utah DOES NOT enforce illegal immigration laws like they should.It is AGAINST THE LAW to harbor illegals……GET IT ?.Almost every landscaping company, stucco company, etc is 100% illegal workers and the employers damn well know it.The park on bluff is filled with illegals playing soccer every sunday.They are here because the law allows it.They are here because employers love hiring them.They save money that would have to pay normally in, unemployment fees etc.Makes me sick.The democrat party has NO humanitarian motives for wanting them here,ZERO,it is strictly political for votes, to help keep them in office.Look at the recent roy moore election where it was reported van loads of illegals were shipped in to vote.This post will likely never be seen here as it is liberals that approve these posts.So much for freedom of speech huh?
    DEPORT,DEPORT,DEPORT.If we had been enforcing our laws this woman may still be alive.PERIOD

    • mshaw December 14, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      I read and hear you loud and clear!! I agree

    • redrock4 December 20, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      This is what it looks like. Just read his comment. Wonder what ignorance looks like? Well, there you go. Our problems obviously are much deeper than mere issues with undocumented people. Sad, it’s almost like you have to try to be that dumb.

  • Rob83 December 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Who is ICE?

    • John December 14, 2017 at 11:13 am

      GARCIA, ARTURO MORALES
      City/State: LaVerkin / UT
      PCF Number: 91142

      Arrest Date: 21:00:00 12/12/17
      Agency: St George Police Department
      IN CUSTODY

      DL SUSPENDED_REVOKED FOR ALCOHOL OR DRUG
      Crime Classification: BM
      Statute: 53-3-227(3)(A)
      Court: 5th DIST COURT – ST GEORGE
      Required Bond: 680.00
      Paid: No Payments Made

      INTERLOCK-OPERATE WITHOUT
      Crime Classification: BM
      Statute: 41-6A-518.2(3)
      Court: 5th DIST COURT – ST GEORGE
      Required Bond: 680.00
      Cleared by Judicial Order

      ALCOHOL-RESTRICT DRIVER VIOLATION
      Crime Classification: BM
      Statute: 41-6A-530
      Court: 5th DIST COURT – ST GEORGE
      Required Bond: 680.00
      Cleared by Judicial Order

      DEATH ACCIDENT-LEAVE THE SCENE
      Crime Classification: 3F
      Statute: 41-6A-401.5(2)
      Court: 5th DIST COURT – ST GEORGE
      Required Bond: 5000.00
      Cleared by Judicial Order Required Bond: 10000.00
      Paid: No Payments Made

    • .... December 14, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    • mshaw December 14, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Ice stands for immigration customs enforcement

  • makkie December 15, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Bender.Hillary/obama man eh? If your party was not providing sanctuary for illegal aliens, maybe REAL patriots like utahdiablo wouldn’t feel so frustrated.YOU and your party are the ones that have NO regard for the law…..GET IT?
    “Any person who, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has not received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever, such alien, regardless of any official action which may later be taken with respect to such alien shall, for each alien in respect to whom a violation of this paragraph occurs—
    (A) be fined in accordance with title 18 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; or
    (B) in the case of—
    (i) an offense committed with the intent or with reason to believe that the alien unlawfully brought into the United States will commit an offense against the United States or any State punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year,
    (ii) an offense done for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
    (iii) an offense in which the alien is not upon arrival immediately brought and presented to an appropriate immigration officer at a designated port of entry,
    be fined under title 18 and shall be imprisoned, in the case of a first or second violation of subparagraph (B)(iii), not more than 10 years, in the case of a first or second violation of subparagraph (B)(i) or (B)(ii), not less than 3 nor more than 10 years, and for any other violation, not less than 5 nor more than 15 years.”

  • JCDunford December 15, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Fantastic work SGPD!
    This type of effort and investigative work is a great result.
    I don’t want to see police entrapments, speed traps.
    I DO want to see this type of analysis and background effort.

    Without a doubt, a terrible series of decisions and events. Heartfelt sympathies to the victim and her family.

  • redrock4 December 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

    This is a sad tragedy for the victim and their family/friends. I think that the perpetrator should have to face the full extent of the law. But don’t use this as a way to perpetuate your own racism. Remember the holocaust? How about the recent Las Vegas shooting? All white. Couldn’t have fixed that by “building a wall.” Have you seen the Washington County bookings today? It appears to be full of white people. Your community is unsafe because of people who commit crimes. And, many of those people are your relatives, co-workers, and neighbors. Trump may be in office but don’t think that legitimizes your racism. You will be called out on it every time.

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