Friends: Man hit in Layton lost leg; is well-known in Tampa area

Sunday , August 31, 2014 - 7:13 AM

LAYTON — The Florida man struck by an SUV and critically injured Thursday at the Layton Hills Mall has lost one of his legs, his friends have told the Standard-Examiner.

David Caras was critically injured after he was struck by a Ford Escape on 1225 North, a roadway that is owned by the mall. Layton police reported he was in critical but stable condition Friday at the University of Utah Hospital.

"I know that Dave made it successfully through several surgeries today, which is a miracle," said Caras' friend Julie Reiter in an email sent Saturday evening to the Standard-Examiner.

Caras was on a business trip to Hill Air Force Base and had planned to return home Friday. He is a contractor for a Tampa Bay area business, said another of Caras' friends, Kathy Saunders, in an email. She said Caras' co-worker called police Thursday after he didn't show up for a dinner get-together.

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"Dave has a huge circle of friends in this area. ... Hundreds of people in this area ... have been very worried about him," Saunders said.

Layton Police Sgt. John Holden said Saturday investigators are looking into the possibility Caras was dragged a short distance by the Escape after being hit.

"There's some indication of that — however, we're still going through different witness statements from different vantage points," Holden said.

Police are still looking into the driver's liability in the collision, Holden said. Because it occurred on private property, Layton Police may only charge the driver if they determine the incident amounts to automobile homicide. Caras himself may pursue lesser criminal charges against the driver.

"We are ... very disturbed by the recklessness of this driver and would like some clarification of how something like this could occur. ... I cannot even fathom this horrible scenario and firmly believe an investigation is mandatory," Reiter said. "There is a whole community that is waiting on pins and needles for more information and action in regards to this accident."

Holden indicated more details from the investigation will be available by the middle of next week. 

Caras was jogging when he was struck. The loss of his leg is all the more devastating because of his active lifestyle, according to Saunders.

"He was a great runner and had been training for triathlons," she said.

Caras has also volunteered as a puppy raiser, Saunders said, for Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. based in Palmetto, Fla. The group raises puppies who go on to serve as seeing eye dogs or veterans' service dogs.

Caras was reportedly at one time an area coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs and made several strong friends in the community that way, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who has also raised puppies for the organization.

Contact reporter Ben Lockhart at 801-625-4221 or blockhart@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Lockhart. Like his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blockhartSE.

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