On Jan. 24 of 2014, a tragic accident affected the lives of numerous people and their families. Recently, the driver responsible for the DUI-related crash was sentenced to spend up to 15 years in a Utah prison. In exchange for a plea of guilty in September to one count of vehicular homicide, the other charges against him were dropped in accordance with a plea agreement reached with prosecutors. Even so, the man agreed to pay restitution to the other victims who survived the accident.
The crash occurred when the man failed to stop at a red traffic signal. His vehicle was going approximately 65 mph at the time that it slammed into a second vehicle. The impact forced that vehicle into the one in front of it. Ultimately, there were six vehicles involved in the crash; a 3-year-old died and nine other people were injured.
Witness statements indicated that the Utah man’s vehicle was weaving before the first impact. It was further reported that the driver had attempted to evade police at the scene, but individuals who recognized him detained him for authorities. At his sentencing hearing, the man expressed remorse regarding the events of that day while victims and their family members testified regarding the lasting effects of the man’s actions.
In this case, the evidence regarding this DUI-related accident may have been overwhelming, which led the man and his criminal defense team to negotiate a plea bargain with prosecutors. A review of the evidence prosecutors intend to present at trial can be helpful in making the determination of whether to proceed to trial or to consider another alternative, such as a plea bargain. Since the maximum penalty for most crimes is set by statute, a person can enter into an agreement with prosecutors knowing the maximum amount of time that he or she may be incarcerated.
Source: sltrib.com, “Utah DUI driver sentenced to prison for fatal crash“, Jennifer Dobner, Nov. 7, 2014