Many fatal crashes that occur here in Utah are ruled accidents, and the at-fault party or parties do not face prison time for their actions. However, when crashes are DUI-related, criminal charges are often filed since these are considered to be preventable accidents and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is against the law. Due to this fact, the charges could include vehicular homicide, DUI and any other criminal offense that might be connected to the accident.
This was the case for a 40-year-old man believed to be responsible for a fatal accident that occurred on Oct. 18, 2014. When he attempted to make a left turn into a convenience store lot, he struck a motorcycle driven by a 39-year-old man. Sadly, the motorcyclist died from his injuries.
The surviving driver was taken into custody. Toxicology tests revealed that his blood alcohol level was .13 at the time, which is above the legal limit here in Utah. THC metabolite was also present in his blood stream. He was charged with homicide by vehicle in the third-degree, failure to yield when he made the left turn and driving with a measurable amount of THC in his system. As it turns out, these charged nullified the abeyance of his sentence on another conviction, as well.
He and his criminal defense counsel determined that pleading guilty to the vehicular homicide charge would be in his best interest. The other charges in connection with this DUI-related crash were dropped, and the judge sentenced him to serve up to five years in prison for this conviction, which will run concurrently with the sentence he must now serve for the prior conviction. There are times when it is better to enter into a plea agreement rather than risk going to trial — especially if the evidence prosecutors intend to present to the court is substantial.
Source: sltrib.com, “Utah man sentenced to prison for driving drunk during fatal collision“, Feb. 6, 2016