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Phoenix man charged with automobile homicide for Utah crash

Published July 23, 2012 2:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Prosecutors in southeast Utah have filed an automobile homicide charge against a driver they say was drunk when he killed another driver.

The April 21 crash killed Filemon Montoya, 57.

Montoya was listed as a resident of Sweetwater, Texas, but was from Utah. His services were held in West Jordan.

Erik H. Yazzie, 32, of Phoenix has been charged with automobile homicide, driving under the influence, theft by receiving stolen property and improper lane change.

On April 21, Yazzie left a Moab restaurant without paying, according to charges filed in 7th District Court, took a stolen a 2003 Ford Taurus and drove south on U.S. Highway 191. About 15 miles south of Moab, the Utah Highway Patrol has said, Yazzie crossed the center line and crashed head-on into Montoya's Ford Escape.

Montoya died at the scene. Yazzie received significant injury. A helicopter flew him to a hospital in Grand Junction, Colo.

Court documents claim Yazzie had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21 after the crash. Utah law considers .08 too drunk to drive.

The homicide charge is a second-degree felony punishable by one to 15 years in prison. The drunk driving charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The theft and traffic violation are misdemeanors.

The charges were filed July 13 by the San Juan County attorney. There is a warrant for Yazzie's arrest. As of Monday, he had not yet been booked into the San Juan County jail.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle