Driver charged with negligent homicide
The Carbon County Attorney's Office has charged the Brigham City motorist purportedly involved in a fatal traffic accident last July in Cat Canyon with three separate negligent homicide offenses.
The class A misdemeanor category charges stem from a chain-reaction collision on U.S. Highway 6 east of Wellington that claimed the lives of three California men on July 25, 2001.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol's preliminary investigation into the incident, the accident occurred at approximately 12:30 p.m. when a mini-van allegedly crossed the center line to pass a semi-truck on the highway and forced the victims' Lincoln Towncar off the roadway.
The Lincoln's driver attempted to bring the vehicle back onto the highway, but apparently overcorrected and struck a Ford Tauras. The Towncar then collided into a tractor-trailer and the force of the impact literally demolished the Lincoln.
All three occupants traveling inside the Towncar succumbed to accident-related injuries at the scene. Two men were killed instantly and one died while paramedics struggled to extricate the victim from the vehicle.
The follow-up investigation into the fatal mishap subsequently identified 51-year-old Irene C. Apodaca as the motorist operating the mini-van at the time of the incident.
Filed in 7th District Court, the formal misdemeanor category complaint contends that the defendant acted with criminal negligence and caused the deaths of the three men killed in the accident.
The criminal information identifies the victims of the class A negligent homicide counts as Oran Neve, Donald Wayne Neve and Donald Christopher Neve.
Along with the three negligent homicide charges, the formal criminal complaint contains an additional class C misdemeanor improper passing offense.
The criminal case contends that Apodaca, at the time and date in question, drove a vehicle "on the left side of the pavement striping designed to make a no-passing zone."
The Brigham City resident was initially scheduled to appear before Judge Bruce K. Halliday on Jan. 14 to answer the three class A negligent homicide counts as well as the class C improper passing traffic violation on Jan. 14.
The district court, however granted a written motion submitted by defense counsel Justin Bond and continued Apodaca's arraignment date to Jan. 28.
Pursuant to Utah statute, individuals convicted of committing a class A misdemeanor category offense may be sentenced to one year in jail and fined $2,500 plus applicable fees, assessments and interest.
Under state law, the maximum penalties im-posable in class C criminal convictions include a 90-day jail term along with a $750 fine amount.