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Utah mom in shock over hit-and-run death of son

Published May 23, 2014 5:36 pm

Auto homicide • Prosecutors say driver was drunk when he allegedly ran down pedestrian.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Clearfield • Darla Allred is still in shock that her youngest son is gone.

Three days after Kelly Allred was struck and killed while walking in a Clearfield intersection, his mother said she is busy figuring out funeral arrangements for her 27-year-old son — and hasn't been concerned about the man who police say ran down the father of three late Tuesday night.

Darla Allred and her sister, Mariann Stoker, said Friday they knew that police had arrested the man who they believe was driving drunk and fleeing from police when he hit Kelly Allred. But they didn't know that 37-year-old Jose Antonio Cortez Orozco had made his initial court appearance Friday morning — or that he had been charged in 2nd District Court with second-degree felony automobile homicide.

Orozco also is facing charges of felony failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of an injury or fatal accident, and misdemeanor violation of a protective order.

When told by news reporters of the charges that were filed, Stoker said she didn't feel the counts were harsh enough.

"I think hitting Kelly should be a first-degree [felony]," she said. "Not a second-degree. It's just wrong. It devastated a whole family. It took a father away from his babies. And he [Orozco] just didn't care."

Orozco, dressed in a striped jail jumpsuit, said nothing during his brief court hearing on Friday. He was assigned a public defender and an arraignment hearing was set for May 28.

Police said events leading to the fatal accident began when Orozco went to the Freeport Center in Clearfield at about 10 p.m. Tuesday with flowers for his estranged wife, despite a protective order forbidding contact with her.

Police, notified of the violation, later spotted Orozco driving in the area and tried to pull him over.

Orozco, according to a probable cause statement, refused to stop and accelerated away from police. A brief high-speed chase ensued, but the pursuit was soon terminated for public safety reasons.

Orozco was believed to be traveling at 60 mph or more when, about 10 minutes later, he allegedly struck Kelly Allred in the intersection of 700 South (Highway 193) and State Street (Highway 26).

Darla Allred said her son had just got off work before the accident. He was hungry, and decided to go to a nearby Maverik convenience store for a snack. She said her son walked everywhere — he didn't own a car — so the trip to buy two hot dogs and a bag of Doritos was not uncommon for the man.

The mother said her son was walking back from the convenience store when he was struck. She didn't hear about the accident until later that night, when a police officer came to her door to tell her that her son was in critical condition at Ogden Regional Medical Center. Kelly Allred died after about four hours at the hospital, the mother said.

While she waited in the emergency room for news about her son, Darla Allred said she was told by police that the driver who had hit her son never stopped to help him.

"It was devastating to all of us," she said. "We were very upset about that."

Prosecutors say Orozco kept driving to his home in North Salt Lake, where police, working from witness descriptions of him and his pickup truck, arrested him.

The probable cause statement notes that, "When officers made contact with the defendant, they detected an odor of alcohol coming from his person." Orozco allegedly failed several field sobriety tests, and a blood sample also was taken, showing a blood alcohol level of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Stoker described Kelly Allred as a mellow person, who was always smiling. He just "glowed," she said.

Her nephew was also a great dad to his three children.

"He was a wonderful father," Stoker said. "One of the best I'd ever seen. He'd do his daughter's hair, dress them, feed them."

Family members said Kelly Allred loved playing with his children, and also loved playing video games and building his computer.

Kelly Allred's death was the fourth in their family in a two-month period, Stoker said. Kelly Allred is distantly related to 31-year-old April Taylor, of Willard, who died on May 16 after she had been stung 30 to 40 times by bees she kept in her backyard. Family members were in town for Taylor's funeral, Stoker said, when Kelly Allred was killed.

"We're not doing too good," Stoker said of their family. "We thought we were done [with deaths] with April. This has just devastated and shocked us."

Kelly Allred's funeral is planned for May 31, according to his family members.

Orozco remained in the Davis County Jail on Friday under a federal immigration hold order, as well as $50,000 bail.

Court records show Orozco had pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor for violating a protective order in connection with a Dec. 7, 2013, incident involving his estranged wife. Just days before that, Orozco had pleaded guilty to class B misdemeanor counts of assault, criminal mischief and domestic violence in the presence of a child.

On Jan. 7, he was given a 305-day suspended jail sentence and ordered to serve 120 days home confinement on condition he wear an ankle monitor and complete two years' probation.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims Kely Allred Fund •

The family of Kelly Allred has set up an account at US Bank for those wanting to contributed toward expenses related to his death. Donations can be made under the name "Kelly Allred Donation Fund."