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Man charged in Utah crash that killed 3-year-old

Published February 4, 2014 4:52 pm

Courts • The driver is suspected of driving under the influence, according to the police.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

The Kearns man who allegedly drove drunk and crashed into another car, killing a toddler, has been charged.

Manuel de Jesus Guinea, 45, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with automobile homicide, for which he could serve up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He is also charged with nine counts of driving under the influence, one of which carries a potential five-year prison sentence, while the rest are misdemeanors.

The DUI charges represent each person who was injured in the crash, said Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill.

The evening of Jan. 25, a witness says Guinea was speeding west on 5400 South, weaving in and out of traffic, according to the charges. He then crashed into the back of a Subaru that was stopping for a red light at 1300 West, the charges add.

The investigation revealed that Guinea was traveling at more than 60 mph less than a second before rear-ending the Subaru, according to the charges. The speed limit for the area is 45 mph.

A 3-year-old who was restrained in the backseat, Zane Thurber, died later that night.

The crash caused a domino effect, forcing the Subaru into the car in front of it, then that car into the one in front of it, and so on, until a total of five vehicles were involved in the crash. Including the two people in the front seats of the Subaru, nine people were injured, according to the charges.

After the crash, police said Guinea got out of his truck and tried to blend in with other witnesses that had stopped to help. One witness held him until police could arrive.

Police said they suspect alcohol was a factor in the crash and arrested Guinea on suspicion of automobile homicide and driving under the influence. A witness reported that Guinea smelled "like a bar," according to a jail probable cause statement.

Guinea does not have a court appearance scheduled yet.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda