The trial of a bus driver accused of running over and killing 82-year-old businessman Richard Wirick — known around Salt Lake City as “Mr. Downtown” for his longtime support of local commerce — was delayed when a judge questioned whether city prosecutors could prove she acted with criminal negligence
The Salt Lake City Justice Court judge ordered prosecutors to explain why Cheryl Anne Kidd, who hit Wirick as he was walking in a crosswalk at 200 East and 400 South on Feb. 21, 2012, should be tried for misdemeanor negligent operation of a motor vehicle causing personal injury since there is no evidence the woman had been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Simple negligence is not sufficient to prove a crime,” Judge L.G. Cutler said, noting that the prosecution typically has to prove the defendant was doing something he or she should not have been.
Prosecutors planned to file a motion Tuesday afternoon explaining why they believe prosecuting Kidd is the right course of action. The judge will rule Wednesday morning.
If the trial proceeds, it is expected to last for three days.
Kidd faces two charges: misdemeanor negligent operation of a motor vehicle causing personal injury, which carries a maximum sentence of up to six months in jail, and not yielding the right of way at a crosswalk, an infraction for which she cannot be incarcerated.
According to charging documents, Wirick was still crossing the street Feb. 21, 2012, when the traffic signal changed.
A Utah Transit Authority bus, driven by Kidd, went through the intersection, hitting Wirick in the far right westbound lane of 400 South and trapping him under the bus.
Wirick died later that day.
Kidd, 50, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
She told police that she did not see Wirick, according to court documents, and there was no evidence she had been driving under the influence.
The UTA terminated Kidd on March 15, 2012.
Wirick owned the Oxford Shop shoe store, at 65 W. 100 South, for nearly six decades.