A 29-year-old Kearns man who killed his sister and brother-in-law last year during a high-speed, nitrous oxide-fueled crash was sentenced to prison for up to 10 years Friday.
Christopher Robert Youngblood had pleaded guilty to two reduced counts of third-degree felony auto homicide.
He was originally charged with two second-degree felony counts of automobile homicide. As part of a plea agreement, a count of speeding was dismissed.
Third District Judge Vernice Trease on Friday sentenced Youngblood to zero to five years on each count and ordered them to run consecutively.
On the afternoon of Dec. 3, 2011, Youngblood took his sister, Erica Youngblood, 31,and her husband, Michael Dye, 29, for a ride to show them the nitrous oxide system he had installed to boost power in his 2008 Toyota Scion TC the night before, court documents show.
A witness said he saw a car going between 65 mph to 100 mph in a 45 mph zone as it approached the intersection of 5600 West and 5400 South, court documents say. The car went airborne and lost control when it landed, sliding into a concrete wall and then a house.
Youngblood’s sister and Dye died at the scene. Youngblood was taken to a hospital.
Tests showed Christopher Youngblood had a blood alcohol content of 0.07, which is just below Utah’s legal limit for driving — 0.08. Youngblood told police he had been drinking before taking his sister and brother-in-law for a ride, court documents say. Testing also showed a low level of marijuana in his system.
At a prior hearing, the defendant’s mother, Jane Youngblood, noted that her son, daughter and son-in-law had been friends since they were children.
“It’s devastating what happened ... . It was a terrible decision on all of their parts,” she said during Youngblood’s March plea hearing, adding that her children always liked fast cars. “It was a terrible accident.”
Jane Youngblood remembered asking the three not to go on a ride that day. She said her daughter told her not to worry, and that they would be back in 15 minutes. Instead, it ended up being a tragedy, she said.
She said that neither her family nor Dye’s mother wanted Chris Youngblood to go to prison.
Erica Youngblood and Dye had three children together, and he had a fourth child from a previous relationship. Three of the children are now being raised by Youngblood’s parents.
“Since he took these children’s parents, he needs to be out here to help raise them,” Jane Youngblood said.