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Front Page » February 12, 2002 » Local News » Court schedules trial in negligent homicide case
Published 4,550 days ago

Court schedules trial in negligent homicide case


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By LYNNDA JOHNSON
Sun Advocate editor

The 7th District Court has scheduled a May 2 trial date in the negligent homicide case filed against a Brigham City motorist.

The formal criminal complaint charges the defendant, 51-year-old Irene C. Apodaca, with three separate negligent homicide counts in connection with a fatal traffic accident last July in Cat Canyon.

The class A misdemeanor category offenses 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 when a mini-van allegedly crossed the center line to pass a semi-truck 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 Taurus.

The Towncar then collided into a tractor-trailer and the force of the impact demolished the Lincoln.

All three occupants traveling inside the Towncar succumbed to accident-related injuries at the scene. Two men were killed instantly in the collision and one died while paramedics struggled to extricate the victim from the vehicle.

The UHP's follow-up investigation into the fatal mishap identified Apodaca as the motorist operating the mini-van at the time of the incident.

Filed in the district court by the Carbon County Attorney's Office, the formal misdemeanor category complaint contends that the defendant acted with criminal negligence and caused the deaths of the three California residents killed in the Cat Canyon accident.

The formal 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 class A negligent homicide charges, the formal misdemeanor category complaint contains an additional class C improper passing offense.

The criminal information 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 misdemeanor category complaint maintains that the defendant's failure to comply with the no-passing zone constitutes criminal negligence on the motorist's part.

And Apocada's unlawful actions caused the accident and ultimately resulted in the three fatalities, alleges the formal criminal information.

The Brigham City motorists was initially scheduled to appear before Judge Bruce K. Halliday on Jan. 14 to answer the three class A negligent homicide counts and the class C improper passing traffic violation.

However, the district court granted a motion submitted by defense attorney Justin Bond and continued Apodaca's arraignment date.

On Jan. 28, Judge Halliday set a jury trial date in the negligent homicide case filed against Apodaca and specified that the criminal proceeding commence at 9 a.m. on May 2.

The district court also scheduled an April 18 pretrial conference in the misdemeanor category complaint.

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 imposable in class C criminal convictions include a 90-day jail term along with a $750 fine amount.


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