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Hawkinson pleads guilty to auto homicide

Darin Hawkinson talks with his attorney Sam Chiara during an April hearing.

Sun Advocate associate editor

Darin S. Hawkinson, the 47-year-old East Carbon man charged with causing the deaths of two women in a chain-reaction collision on U.S. 6 near Wellington last September, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of automobile homicide.

Each count of auto homicide is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and restitution. In a plea agreement between defense attorney Sam Chiara and county prosecutors, the felonies were amended from the original charges of second degree. A third count of misdemeanor speeding was dropped.

Seventh Judicial District Court Judge George M. Harmond set sentencing for Aug. 13 pending a presentencing report from Adult Probabtion and Parole. The judge advised Hawkinson of his rights and the potential consequences of his decision to plead guilty.

Hawkinson appeared in court using a cane and leg braces for support. He was also injured in the Sept. 23 collision near Cat Canyon and had been hospitalized with multiple injuries.

According to the Utah Highway Patrol, Hawkinson was driving westbound at 81 mph in a 65 mph zone when his 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier drifted off to the right side of the road, then over corrected and crossed the center line directly into the path of an eastbound 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe was carrying driver Steven Dee Hulse, 64, Sandy, and three passengers.

The Santa Fe struck Hawkinson's vehicle broadside, ripping it completely in half. The impact then sent the Santa Fe into a collision with a Peterbilt tractor trailer, also eastbound.

Killed in the crash were the two women in the Santa Fe, 64-year-old Sharlene Atkinson and 63-year-old Lynnette C. Hulse. Steven Hulse was critically injured and William G. Atkinson Jr., 65, suffered serious injuries. All four of the victims in the Santa Fe had been wearing seatbelts, according to the UHP.

Hawkinson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was critically injured.

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