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Utah driver pleads guilty to DUI vehicular homicide

Back on Sept. 4, 2013, we brought you the story of a woman killed by an alleged drunk driver ("Utah woman run down in DUI car accident"). The driver that authorities believed was responsible for her death recently pleaded guilty to DUI vehicular homicide, which is a second-degree felony. As part of a plea bargain brokered with prosecutors, the remaining charges against him were dropped.

We previously reported that, in the late night hours of Aug. 24, police cited the man for disorderly conduct and intoxication, but did not arrest him since he was not driving when they arrested him. Subsequently, he got behind the wheel of a friend's vehicle. In the early morning hours of Aug. 25, the victim was sitting next to a parked car on a curb when the driver first hit the parked car and then her. He kept going and ended up crashing into a fence.

He fled the scene on foot but was found a short distance away. The breath test administered by police purportedly read .192, but it was not deemed reliable. When authorities obtained a blood sample from the driver nearly two hours after the incident, toxicology results documented his blood alcohol level at .169.

A court date in late February has been set for sentencing for this Utah DUI-related accident. Reportedly, the court can sentence the man to prison for as many as 15 years in prison for the crime to which he pleaded guilty. The focus of the defense team must necessarily shift to seeking the most favorable result possible based upon the man's guilty plea. Moreover, a case does not necessarily end with a formal sentence. A careful review of the proceedings may provide a basis for an appeal of the sentence ultimately imposed and/or with regard to any prior legal rulings that may have prompted the man's decision to plead guilty.

Source: heraldextra.com, Man accused of killing woman while driving drunk pleads guilty, Paige Fieldsted, Jan. 17, 2014

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