Defendant Awaits Sentencing After Death of 2-year-old

The defendant in a case related to the death of a West Valley two-year-old pled guilty to reduced charges on Monday the 27th. Kimberly Munoz, 21, is looking at up to five years in prison when she faces sentencing in March. The Prosecution, as part of a plea bargain, has recommended three years probation with no additional jail time, but the judge has yet to hand down a sentence.  Angela Barnett, of West Valley City, was crossing the intersection at 5600 West and 4005 South on June tenth of last year with her nine year old daughter and two year old son when the stroller carrying her son was struck, killing two year-old Gavyn. Munoz was first charged with the third-degree felony of leaving the scene of an accident involving death and three misdemeanors alleging she drove without insurance, with illegally tinted windows, and without her prescribed glasses. She pled guilty to one charge of leaving the incident of an accident involving property damage, a third-degree felony. The driver’s visibility was obscured in several ways. In addition to it being 9:15 pm, Munoz’s windshields were illegally tinted and she allegedly had forgotten her glasses. According to the police, the street was poorly lit and the intersection had no crosswalk. “My client’s mistake and only mistake was leaving the scene behind and not going back,” Munoz’s attorney, Bel-Ami de Montreux said. “She was very young, she panicked, and she went away. We want to emphasize our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the child that passed away, and we are in no way blaming the mother. It was poor judgment — almost no...

Drunk Driving Incident Ends in Tragedy

At 8:32 pm Saturday night in Taylorsville, a man driving a pickup truck slammed into the back of the Thurber’s car as Matt, Holden, and Zane Thurber waited at the red light in the intersection of 5400 south and 1300 west.  The crash ended in the tragic death of three-year-old Zane Thurber, and injured his six-year-old brother Matt and his father, Holden. Moments before the crash, police received several calls and complaints of a reckless driver, but before they could locate the driver, the crash had already occurred.  By the time they arrived at the scene, Police found that five cars had been involved in the crash and that the reckless driver who caused it was Manuel de Jesus Guinea, 45, from Kearns.  “After the crash, he got out of the car and tried to blend in with the crowd that was around helping,” Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department said. “A citizen grabbed onto him and held him until officers arrived and took him into custody.” According to the police reports for probable cause, witnesses claimed Guinea “definitely smelled like a bar” and was too impaired to give his name and social security number when prompted by the Police. He was only identified by a Utah Driver’s Privilege card found on Guinea’s person. Unified police have reportedly arrested Manuel de Jesus Guinea, 45, from Kearns, and booked him into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. While police take care of the investigation, it is important that we keep Zane Thurber, as seen in the picture on the right,...

Not Buckling Up to Blame for Nearly One Third of 2013 Traffic Fatalities

A new report by the Utah Department of Transportation states that traffic fatalities have gone up from 217 in 2012 (the lowest since 1959) to 219 in 2013. Carlos Braceras, director of UDOT, told KSL that “although Utah only experienced a slight increase in 2013, any climb in fatality numbers is troubling.” Troubling indeed as 71 of the 219 deaths can be attributed to improper use of safety restraints, one third of total fatalities. If we exclude incidents involving pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicycles, which obviously won’t be attributed to seat belts, then nearly half of the remaining fatalities could have been prevented. “There are a lot of things you can do to prevent death or serious injury in the event of a car crash,” Braceras stated in a UDOT press release. “The simplest thing you can do is wear your seat belt. People who aren’t properly buckled are 40 times more likely to die in a car crash than those who are.” The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, or Advocates, recently released their 2014 “Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws” which ranks states on their traffic safety legislation, including seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws and licensing gradations based on age. (For a full list, see the original document) Utah ranks right in the middle, but lacks comprehensive seat belt enforcement and up-to-date teen driving restrictions. Utah has seen a significant reduction in fatalities since the year 2000, and while a slight increase over the last year is not a terrible sign, it may represent the start of a plateau, however, this remains to be seen. Even after passing last...

West Valley Man Fatally Injured in Auto-Pedestrian Accident

Early in the morning, on Friday the seventeenth, a West Valley City man was struck at the intersection of 2700 west and 4270 South. Chris Larsen, a 59-year-old who was on his way to work at a nearby grocery store, was hit at around 6:45 a.m. as he was crossing east to west at the intersection.  WVCPD officer Dalan Taylor  was at the scene following the accident, and believes that Mr. Larsen was hit as he stepped into traffic in front of a compact car that was heading southbound at 40 mph. The incident is still under investigation, but dark morning conditions and a poorly lit intersection are thought to have contributed to this vehicle-pedestrian incident. Officer Taylor also added that there is no crosswalk at this intersection. It was reported that paramedics, police officers, and witnesses all attempted to revive him, but after suffering massive head and chest trauma there was little that could be done and Mr. Larsen was pronounced dead at the scene. Accidents like this are tragic and far too common.  We invite our readers to exercise caution in the early morning hours, particularly at intersections and in school zones. If you are driving in an urban area, especially when the weather or lighting makes it difficult to see,  slow down and pay close attention to anywhere a pedestrian is likely to cross, even if it’s not marked. Original Article: Salt Lake Tribune Original News Video: KUTV News Report  Photo from...

Christopher Martinez Dies in Snowmobiling Accident

With the coming of winter months, events and recreational activities such as skiing, snowmobiling become insanely popular again. Additionally, this time of year is a wonderful season to spend time with family and friends. However, the winter months do have some downsides like being stranded in the roads due to snow storm, being caught in an avalanche, or other Winter accidents. It seems this was the tragic story this weekend, as a snowmobiling accident claimed the life of a young man. Christopher Martinez, 22 was an Airman 1st Class stationed at Hill Air Force Base who was killed in a snowmobiling accident in the Monte Cristo Range. He was in the range with two other airmen and a civilians last Sunday when the accident occured. Weber County Sheriff’s Office Deputies said that Martinez was heading down a steep embankment about 100 yards off the road when the snowmobile crashed. When others in the party reached the road and Martinez did not appear, they climbed the embankment to find him pinned and unresponsive. His friends were unable to find vital signs. According to the report, Martinez was serving as a Ground Radar Journeyman in the 729th Air Control Squadron. He had been in the Air Force since March 1, 2011 and spent most of that time at Hill Air Force Base. He was deployed earlier this year for a six-month tour to Southwest Asia. Lt. Col. Darin Humiston, Martinez’s squadron commander, stated that it was a tragic loss to the Air Force family. He considers Martinez as a valuable member of Team Hill who will be missed by all. The...
Elsa Alonso Killed in Alleged DUI Incident

Elsa Alonso Killed in Alleged DUI Incident

The deadly combination of speed and alcohol claimed another life this Sunday. The victim identified as 22-year-old Elsa Alonso of Ogden was reported to be on her way home when she was struck by another vehicle driven by an alleged drunk driver. The accident was reported to have occurred at the intersection of 30th Street and Adams Ave at about 2:30 a.m. The impact of the crash sent Alonso’s car into a nearby yard. Paris Scott, Alonso’s boyfriend told Fox13 that his girlfriend was one block away from her home and said that one could stand outside her house and see the crime scene. The 25-year-old woman who struck Alonso’s car was described by Ogden Police Lt. Chad Ledford to be driving an estimated 80 miles per hour in a neighborhood with a 30 mile per hour speed limit. He also added the blood alcohol level of the suspect was almost four times the legal limit. The woman accused of hitting Alonso was reported to have sustained a broken ankle and head injury and has remained hospitalized. Her name is being withheld by the police pending investigation. Ogden police confirmed that she had a prior DUI conviction and has an “alcohol restricted license”. The report stated that as of this time, the investigators are trying to find out if the woman had an ignition interlock device that would have prohibited her from operating the vehicle if she was intoxicated. Lt. Ledford stated that it is possible that the suspect has had an interlock restriction prior, but they are uncertain if it was still in effect at the time of the accident or if it...