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Man charged in fatal rural Utah crash

DUI » Accused driver’s blood tested well above the legal alcohol limit, according to the charges.

First Published Mar 03 2014 02:17 pm • Last Updated Mar 03 2014 10:44 pm

A Stansbury Park man has been charged almost two years to the day of when he is accused of driving drunk in a deadly crash.

Charles Russell, 25, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with automobile homicide and with driving under the influence and inflicting serious bodily injury, which are third-degree felonies that carry a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment. He also was charged with misdemeanor DUI.

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The morning of March 4, 2012, Kimberly Mendez was driving west on State Road 138 near Grantsville when she noticed headlights quickly coming toward her in her lane. She tried switching to an eastbound lane to avoid running into the vehicle head-on, but Russell — behind the wheel of a Hyundai Santa Fe — still hit her, according to the charges.

Rocio Macias, 26, of Azusa, Calif., who was in Mendez’s front passenger seat, died at the scene. A passenger in Mendez’s backseat, Martin Ruiz, also suffered rib fractures.

A trooper arrived at the scene and smelled alcohol coming from Russell, who told the trooper that he had one or two beers about three or four hours before the crash, according to the charges. He also said he could not remember the collision, only driving down a main street in Grantsville, then being at the crash scene, the charges add.

Russell consented to a blood test, which eventually showed that he was well above the legal limit, at 0.14 grams per 100 millimeters of blood, according to the charges. Mendez’s blood, meanwhile, tested negative.

Along with the charges, prosecutors filed a warrant for Russell’s arrest. His bail is set at $20,000.


Twitter: @mikeypanda

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