Archive for the ‘Fatal Accident’ Category

Defendant Awaits Sentencing After Death of 2-year-old

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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 one could have avoided hitting that stroller.”

Christensen & Hymas offers its deepest condolences. We ask drivers to exercise their utmost caution while driving and to remember that safety is always the top priority.

Original report by Jessica Miller of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Drunk Driving Incident Ends in Tragedy

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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.

Zane ThurberWhile police take care of the investigation, it is important that we keep Zane Thurber, as seen in the picture on the right, and his family in our thoughts and prayers. All of us at Christensen & Hymas offer our sincerest condolences to the family and to all that were involved. We wish you the best and hope that you will be able to find peace and comfort in these hard times.

If any of our readers are wondering how they can help or offer condolences to Zane’s family, relatives of the Thurber family have set up an online Funeral & Medical Expenses Fund where you can donate.  The family has mentioned that the driver who hit them most likely does not have insurance, and so they would appreciate any help you can offer them as they try to cover the expenses resulting from this sorrowful event.


Original Story by   and  at Fox 13 and Amy Joi O’Donoghue at KSL News.

Picture found at the Thurber Family Funeral & Medical Expense Fund

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

Friday, January 24th, 2014

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

Image Courtesy of UDOT

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 year’s three-foot bike safety law legislators have been slow to adopt truly comprehensive traffic safety legislation. There is still a lot to be done before Utahans can make traffic fatalities a thing of the past, and it will take both increased personal responsibility and specific legislation to truly make an impact.

As always, Christiansen and Hymas reminds its readers to buckle up and drive safely.

West Valley Man Fatally Injured in Auto-Pedestrian Accident

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014


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 Wikipedia

Christopher Martinez Dies in Snowmobiling Accident

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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.

snowmobilChristopher 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 report added that base officials are investigating the cause of the accident.

Christensen & Hymas offers its condolence to the bereaved family, friends and relatives of this young man. We hope that his family find the strength through the prayers and support of friends, relatives and co-workers.

Original article and image courtesy of Celeste Tholen Rosenlof of

Elsa Alonso Killed in Alleged DUI Incident

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

candlelight vigil DUI victimThe 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 had been released by the judge.

Elsa Alonso left behind a 2-year-old daughter whose future has become uncertain now according to Scott. He added that he never expected the accident to happen to someone close to him. He said that he heard and read about DUIs and drunk driving, but now it took a loved one away from him.

Christensen & Hymas sympathizes with the family of Elsa Alonso and urges everyone to not drive drunk.

Christensen & Hymas can help anyone who plans to file for compensation claims to recover from the cost of hospitalization and other losses as a result of the injuries sustained from the reckless behavior of another motorist. Call us at (801)506-0800.

Original article by Ben Winslow of Fox13

Image courtesy of Flickr

3 Fatalities in Four-Car Accident near Moab Identified

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

car accidentAccording to the news report, the names of those who were killed in a four-car accident near Moab were released by Utah Department of Public Safety.

The fatalities were identified as Juan Vidales, 54, his daughter Stephanie Vidales, 27, both of Saginaw, TX, and Arthur Loewen, 69, of Perry, GA.

The accident also injured four others, including a 10-year-old girl. They were transported to area hospitals namely San Juan Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, CO.

The accident occurred about 3 p.m. last Friday on state Route 191 according to Utah Highway Patrol report. The report further stated that a Nissan Maxima, driven by David Lewis, 28, of Saginaw, TX, struck an oncoming Hyundai Azera after it attempted to pass a semitrailer in a no-passing zone. The collision sent the Nissan Maxima spinning down the road where it was struck on the passenger door by a northbound Cadillac DTS. The Nissan Maxima stopped spinning as a result of the impact but the Cadillac DTS spun off the shoulder and came to a stop.

The passengers of the Nissan Maxima were Juan Vidales, seated in the front passenger seat, and Stephanie Vidales, seated at the back together with her 10-year-old daughter. Mother and daughter were ejected from the vehicle but the daughter suffered only minor injuries from the accident that killed her mother.

Arthur Loewen, who was also killed in this accident, was seated in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac.
The news report also mentioned that a northbound Toyota Camry that was travelling behind the Hyundai avoided the collision but was hit by debris. The driver was reported uninjured.

Utah Highway Patrol disclosed that the San Juan County Attorney’s Office was screening possible charges against Lewis, who was Stephanie Vildales’ boyfriend.

Christensen &  Hymas urge everyone to drive carefully around semitrailer trucks. Driving around semis requires keeping distance because of visibility factor and there are things to consider if a driver would attempt to pass a semi truck.

FIX ME RIGHT NOW PLEASEChristensen & Hymas specialize in personal injury cases. Call us at (801)-506-0800 for a free initial consultation. Let our competent lawyers help you claim compensation for injuries and loss of potential income as a result of someone’s recklessness and negligence.

Original article by Pat Reavy of Deseret News.

Photo courtesy of Peter Brantley.

Elizabeth Ashley Morrison Sentenced For DUI

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

For driving under the influence of alcohol, Elizabeth Ashley Morrison gets a one year prison term and six years of probation. She will be required also to drive with an ignition interlock device until 2019. The sentence was pronounced Monday, August 12.

Morrison was convicted April 2013 of negligent homicide and two counts of DUI, all class A misdemeanors.

Reports indicated that on October 29, 2011, Elizabeth Ashley Morrison, 25, was driving a Jeep Commander that rear ended a Hyundai sedan at the intersection of 700 East and 3300 South. The Hyundai was stopped at the intersection for a red light.

Kenneth Brailsford was reported to be a backseat occupant of the Hyundai sedan when the accident happened. According to the charging document, Morrison slammed into the back of Brailsford’s vehicle without braking. The Hyundai then hit the vehicle in front of him that was also stopped at the red light. Brailsford was killed instantly in the impact.

The accident also critically injured four people. Reports listed a total of nine people involved in the three-car crash. It was also found that Morrison had a three year old child with her and was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 according to charges.

Christensen & Hymas encourage everyone not to drink and drive. Driving under the influence is considered a criminal offense. This behavior puts yourself at high risk for accident and will endanger others who will be sharing the road with you. First time offenders can face tougher measures for DUI cases. The problems you will face for drunk driving can put stress and strain on your personal and professional life. It is best to let others drive you home if social drinking is unavoidable.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call us at (801)-506-0800. We have personal injury lawyers who can help you determine the compensation you are entitled to because of injuries sustained and loss of income as a result of someone’s recklessness or negligence.

Original article by Pat Reavy of Deseret News.

Woman Killed in Crash near Scofield

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

flipped carAccording to Deseret News, a woman and two other people were ejected from a pickup truck that rolled off Pondtown Road  and down a 150-foot embankment near Scofield State Park on July 7.

The other passenger, identified as Alvin Carter, 27, of Magna, was flown from the scene of the accident by a medical helicopter to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. According to Carbon County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tom Stefanoff , Carter was released from the hospital last Wednesday. The third person was taken by a private vehicle to an undisclosed hospital before the deputies arrived.

Authorities reported that alcohol was a factor in the crash and they suspect that the three occupants of the pickup truck were not wearing seat belts.

Investigators in Carbon County say they are still trying to track down the third unknown person. They are also trying to establish who was behind the wheel when the accident happened.

The woman who died was just 22 years old. This brings to mind the concerns of the increasing rate of car accidents involving young people. This age group has high incidences of distracted driving and not buckling up.

According to Utah Safety Council, as of 2011, drivers aged 15-24 years are:

  • involved in 21,410 motor vehicle crashes, which resulted in 10,000 injured persons and 63 deaths.
  • Represented 18% of the licensed drivers in Utah, yet they are involved in nearly one-half (41%) or all motor vehicle crashes.
  • 1.8 times more likely to be in a crash than drivers of other ages.
  • involved in a crash in Utah every 24 minutes.

Moreover, Utah Safety Council found out that in 15-24 year-old drivers, crashes involved:

  • Following too closely (21%)
  • Failure to yield right of way (16%)
  • Speeding too fast (11%)
  • Failure to keep in proper lane (10%)
  • Driver distraction (9%)

The council also added that fatal 15-24 year-old driver crashes resulted from:

  • Driving under the influence (31%)
  • Speeding too fast (29%)
  • Failure to keep in proper lane (28%)
  • Overcorrection(19%)
  • Driver distraction (10%)

Christensen & Hymas sympathizes with the family and urges everyone to stay safe on the road. Please do not forget to buckle up.

Original article by Geoff Liesik.

Photo courtesy of Rick Hall.

Pedestrian Killed by Impaired Driver

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Drunk Driving KillsIn West Valley City, authorities reported the arrest of a man believed to be responsible for automobile homicide. The man was driving under the influence when he hit and killed a West Valley City man who was crossing the road according to the police.

56-year-old Zay Speed was booked into Salt County Jail last Sunday morning for investigation regarding the incident.

The victim was allegedly jaywalking near 4000 South and Redwood Road when he was hit by a white minivan. According to the report, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

West Valley City Police Sgt. Jeff Conger said that Speed continued down the road before stopping behind some businesses where police found him. Police authorities added that there were indications that Speed was driving under the influence of drugs.

Automobile homicide, as defined by the 76 Utah Criminal Code Chapter 5 Section 207, is a third degree felony if the person operates a motor vehicle in a negligent manner causing the death of another and:

(i) has sufficient alcohol in his body that a subsequent chemical test shows that the person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of the test;

(ii) is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle; or

(iii) has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of operation.

(b) A conviction for a violation of this Subsection (2) is a second degree felony if it is subsequent to a conviction as defined in Subsection 41-6a-501(2).

(c) As used in this Subsection (2), “negligent” means simple negligence, the failure to exercise that degree of care that reasonable and prudent persons exercise under like or similar circumstances.

FIX ME RIGHT NOW PLEASEChristensen & Hymas offers its condolences to the family. We urge every motorist to watch carefully for pedestrians. Follow speed limits and do not drive if you are intoxicated.

Original article by Emilee Eagar of Deseret News

Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe.