Woman gets jail time for 2011 fatal Cedar City crash
A 51-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for causing a 2011 fatal crash in Iron County will spend 60 days in jail.
Shari Yates was charged in 5th District Court with negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, in November 2011 five months after the July 1 accident that killed 50-year-old James D. Ruman, of St. George.
Yates pleaded guilty in December. On Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Wilcox sentenced her to 60 days in the Iron County jail and 24 months probation. As part of her probation, the judge ordered Yates to adhere to a strict curfew, maintain full-time employment and write a letter of explanation to Ruman's family.
According to her attorney, Greg Skordas, Yates was driving a semitrailer truck north on Interstate 15 near Cedar City when she came up behind Ruman at a high rate of speed and rear-ended him. Ruman was driving a surplus military vehicle in the right lane and was "not going very fast," Skordas said.
Skordas said there was no evidence that Yates was distracted or that there was poor visibility at the time of the crash.
"There was no evidence of impairment of alcohol or drugs," he said Friday. "There was no evidence of cellphone texting or distraction. But, on the other hand, she was unable to explain her conduct."
Skordas said witnesses described Yates as going "pretty fast" before the collision, but exact speeds for Ruman's vehicle and Yate's truck could not be determined. Skordas, however, said Yates was likely going at least 20 to 30 mph faster than Ruman.
A van travelling in the left lane of traffic also was also involved in the accident, but no one in the van was seriously injured, Skordas said.