ST. GEORGE — A woman who has ties to St. George and Cedar City is in jail facing a murder charge following a crash in Richfield in May that killed a passenger – a collision that authorities say was a deliberate act.
On May 27, the Richfield Police Department requested assistance from the Utah Highway Patrol’s crash reconstruction team involving a collision reported at the intersection of 300 North and 100 East in Richfield earlier that evening.
The crash involved a silver Chevrolet Tahoe that struck a Chevrolet Malibu shortly before 7:30 p.m.
At the time of the incident, the Tahoe was heading east on East 300 North and continued through the intersection in the left-turn lane without stopping, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.
The driver lost control of the SUV, and it continued into oncoming traffic where it struck the Malibu head-on. The passenger traveling in the Malibu later died from their injuries, and the driver suffered multiple leg and pelvic fractures.
Officers at the scene ran a check on the Tahoe driver, who was identified as 53-year-old Lesia Allred, and discovered she was driving on a suspended license and had no insurance at the time of the crash.
The crash was then turned over to UHP Major Crash Investigation team and the State Bureau of Investigation for further examination.
Investigators downloaded the data from the Tahoe’s airbag module that is equipped with an event data recorder that captures and records the last seconds of a crash – including speed, throttle position, engine speed, change in velocity, steering, and even records if the seatbelt lock was engaged.
According to the preliminary analysis, the data showed that the Tahoe was at full acceleration at the point of impact, which was determined consistent with a deliberate action. Investigators then served a search warrant for the Allred’s medical records that revealed the suspect was at two different hospitals following the crash.
The report also states the suspect told medical staff she was suicidal and planned “to carry out her suicide within the last month prior to the crash.”
When agents spoke with the suspect, she said she had previously attempted suicide; the most recent attempt took place in August of last year.
Through the course of the investigation, detectives also learned the crash was captured by a surveillance system at a Chinese restaurant in Richfield and obtained the footage.
The video shows the Tahoe make a controlled right-hand turn onto 300 North from Main Street, followed by a deliberate left turn into oncoming traffic and accelerate – “directly targeting the Chevrolet Malibu, consistent with the preliminary airbag module report,” investigators noted in the charging document.
According to a search warrant obtained for the suspect’s cell phone, investigators learned the suspect had taken the Tahoe from an acquaintance during a visit to their home shortly after 3 p.m., just hours before the crash. The caller also reportedly said that Allred told her she was going to get a pedicure and then took the keys and left. The owner told officers the suspect did not have permission to take the SUV, but was unable to reach the suspect once Allred left.
The warrant also noted that several witness statements that were gathered at the scene of the crash stated the suspect told emergency medical personnel and others she had suffered a medical incident, “specifically a seizure, which caused the collision.”
Another individual in St. George contacted authorities saying the suspect reached out to them shortly after the crash, and that Allred said it was she “who was the victim” and was T-boned by the other vehicle.
“This account is contradictory to her statement on scene,” the detective noted.
On Wednesday, a warrant was issued for Allred’s arrest and the case was turned over to Sevier County District Attorney’s Office that included multiple charges, which are currently under review, including one first-degree felony count of murder for the death of the passenger in the Malibu, a charge that was based on evidence suggesting the suspect showed “a depraved indifference to human life, where she knowingly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another and thereby caused the death of another,” the report states.
She also faces one third-degree felony count of aggravated assault based on the suspect’s intentional act of driving her vehicle head-on into oncoming traffic, which caused the injuries to the driver and sole survivor of the Malibu. Agents also included a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license and failing to wear a seat belt.
The report also states that Allred does not have a permanent residence, so over the last several months she has been staying at various shelters or with friends living in St. George, Cedar City and Richfield.
The suspect was arrested Wednesday by a State Bureau of Investigations agent and she was booked into the Sevier County Jail in Richfield shortly after 7 p.m.
The suspect remains in custody and is being held without bail.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other 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.
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